“We are not here for vote-bank or power politics. We are here to change the politics of the country,” declared Arvind Kejriwal, convener of the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party at a public meeting here on Monday.
He formally announced the name of the party at Jantar Mantar, from where he and several other activists along with Anna Hazare had launched the anti-corruption movement last April.
On Monday, attempts were made to give the centre stage to the common citizen through the slogan: “Humara neta kaisa ho, aam aadmi jaisa ho.”
Naming several ministers and political leaders, he said the list of politicians against whom there were charges of corruption was long but if the Aam Aadmi Party came to power, they would be investigated and prosecuted within six months. “The [anti-corruption] Jan Lokpal Bill,” he asserted, “can be passed within 15 days. The CBI can be made independent and fast track courts set up to try the corrupt and punish them.”
Sharing the dais with him were members of the newly elected national executive, senior lawyer Shanti Bhushan and former Navy Chief Admiral Ramdass who helped frame the party’s constitution based on the principle of decentralised democracy. Mr. Bhushan donated Rs. 1 crore to the party.
Lamenting that after 65 years of freedom, the common citizen was still struggling for basic requirements like electricity, water, food, education and healthcare, Mr. Kejriwal said, “This is so because we are first-class citizens who are victims of third-class governance.”
With the entry of their party, the 2014 elections will witness a unique battle between “netas” (politicians) and “aam aadmi” (common man), he predicted. “Corruption,” he said, “was fuelling inflation as corporate interests were being taken care of by the government at the expense of the common citizens.”
Vowing to make public the donations received by their party, as well as its expenses, he dared the Congress and the BJP to reveal how much they were spending on advertisements for the Gujarat polls.
He asked his supporters to pledge that they would not take or give bribes, not “sell” their vote for “liquor, money or sarees,” not vote on consideration of caste or religion and exercise their franchise in every election.