The Aam Aadmi Party has fielded aam aadmi (common men and women) candidates who are from different walks of life but what unites them is their resolve to change the political system even if it involves joining it.
Shazia Ilmi, a former TV anchor who is contesting from the RK Puram assembly constituency is among the best recognised AAP candidates. Going by the conventional political wisdom, Ilimi ought to have been a candidate from one of the constituencies with dominant Muslim population like Matia Mahal, Ballimaran and Okhla.
Her claim to fame is not her Muslim name but the fact that she is fighting elections from an area which predominantly consists of Hindus, with Muslims forming around four per cent of the electorate. Many saw the instance as defying vote bank politics.
She is taking on the sitting Congress MLA Barkha Singh.
Ms. Ilmi an alumni of University of Wales, Cardiff, believes the larger issues are affecting the smaller issues of governance. She claims once corruption, the main plank of her party, is taken care of, the money will reach the people on the ground. At present, no body knows where most of the money spent on the projects have gone.
“What the AAP is trying to bring about is swaraj! We want people to have a stake in deciding how to spend the MLA fund,” she says.
Surinder Singh is a former Army commando, who served in the Kargil War, Operation Parakram, Operation Sadbhavna and Operation Black Thunder which was India’s fight against the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai.
Mr. Singh, who a part of the UN mission in Congo, is the AAP candidate for Delhi Cantonment.
Mr. Singh sustained serious injuries while fighting terror in Mumbai during the 26/11 attacks after which he was declared unfit and relieved of Army duty. For as many as 20 months he did not receive his pension.
It was Arvind Kejriwal who took up his cause and ensured him his due, he narrates his story while canvassing for the votes through door to door meetings in his constituency where fellow servicemen form a significant part of the total electorate.
Like his leader and the AAP Chief Ministerial candidate Arvind Kejriwal, for this former Army commando, what matters is the accountability of the local representatives to the common public in his/her action or the absence of it. “People should have the right to recall me if I do not deliver. I want to be held responsible for my area.”
Bhag Singh is an auto rickshaw driver for last 20 years. If the "people's wave" in favour of the Aam Aadmi Party is effective enough as he claims, he will be a lawmaker in the Delhi Assembly.
Mr. Singh is AAP's candidate from Kalkaji.
You ask him what made him join AAP, and he will flaunt his candidature.
"The very fact that there is a party which can give ticket to an autorickshaw driver, says it all. Is there any precedent like this in the political history of this country?”
“Ticket to an autorickshaw driver shows the democratic functioning of the AAP which has facilitated a palpable change in the political culture of Delhi where it has made an electoral debut," says this resident of Gurdaspur district of Punjab.
Only the common man on the street, like him, can inspire confidence in the common public to trust the political class once again, he argues while explaining and justifying his move to enter politics.
“I am getting very good and inspiring response from the electorate,” he asserts brimming with confidence in his eyes.
With the poll date of December 4 gradually approaching, Mr. Singh’s daily schedule has become quite hectic. He goes door to door and does and talks about people’s rule if he is voted in the Assembly.
Somnath Bharti, making his political debut, is contesting from Malviya Nagar assembly constituency.
Mr. Bharti who after doing M. Sc. from IIT Delhi, studied law and started career as a lawyer, has filed many PILs on behalf of the AAP and has undertaken pro bono litigation on behalf of the party.
Recently, he defended eight youths arrested on murder charges of a police officer who died during protests against the 2012 Delhi gang rape.
The murder charges were later dropped because Delhi Police later admitted in the Delhi High Court that the youths had nothing to do with the murder.
An active member of the Jan Lokpal movement, Mr. Bharti drew closer to Arvind Kejriwal’s philosophy of changing the political system by joining it.
Explaining the purpose of his fledgling political career, Mr. Bharti recites a piece of poetry by Dushyant Kumar in Hindi — Sirf hungama khada karna mera maksad nahi/Sari koshish hai ke ye soorat badalni chahiye (Simply creating chaos is not my intention/the whole effort is to change the face of politics) — lines which Mr. Kejriwal frequently quotes to convince people about his political venture.
About the Aam Aadmi Party
The Aam Aadmi Party was officially launched on November 26, 2012
It has a 23-member National Executive
It is contesting all 70 seats in the Delhi elections. Candidates are being selected after a shortlisting process
Its election symbol is a broom
Its founder Arvind Kejriwal is contesting from New Delhi, a seat currently held by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit
Of the 63 candidates declared so far, seven are women
One of its oldest candidates so far is 60-year-old Baljeet Singh Mann and the youngest is 26-year-old Rakhi Birla
Several candidates, including Arvind Kejriwal, have assets worth over Rs. 1 crore
The party believes that it is currently leading in 32 seats and is a close second in 21 others
It has received Rs.16.8 crore in individual donations till date, and lists all donors on its website.
This article has been corrected for an editing error.