After splitting with Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday launched his political party without giving out its name, promising to change the system and not just faces in Parliament.
Arvind Kejriwal and other social activists addressing during a protest rally in New Delhi. UNI Photo (files)
From the dais with an imposing poster of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri in the backdrop, Kejriwal said they will announce the party's name on November 26, the day on which in 1949 the Constitution was adopted, as the group is yet to finalise the registration process.
In his address to his supporters at a day-long meeting, he said, "when we raised issues regarding Lokpal, leaders had asked us why cannot we contest elections and then attempt on making laws. Now we will show them by contesting elections. Anyone can form political party in minutes: Ramdev on Kejriwal
"From today, people are entering politics. Corrupt leaders, count your days...All the parties have cheated us. We will not now request, we will not plead. Now it is a full-throttle political battle," he said.
He said there was a time when people who fought elections were considered patriots but now people contesting elections are seen as hungry for power.
"All parties are corrupt...Our party will change the system and not just the faces in Parliament, he said.
He also said, "Start counting your days all you corrupt people."
He said the budgets should be made in streets and bylanes and not in Parliament and mentioned about a Brazilian town which has adopted this method.
"While many people say that direct power to people is a weird idea, I can say it with all the confidence that this very much possible. We are working on a model for this and will implement the same if elected to power," he said while unveiling his party's draft vision document.
He also announced a series of agitations against Sheila Dikshit-led Delhi government on the power and water tariff hike issue, threatening to gherao the chief minister's residence and snapping power to her house on November four if she does not withdraw the hike by then.
IAC member Arvind Kejriwal during the launch of his political party. HT photo
Kejriwal said his group will hold a press conference this Saturday to make public sensational allegations against "two big leaders".
At the launch, Kejriwal left it to his colleagues to refer to Hazare, who had parted ways with the Kejriwal group 13 days ago and disallowed them to use his name or photo in their campaigns. At the venue, "I am Anna" caps, which was prominent in the Team Anna agitations, gave way to "I am Aam Aadmi (common man)" caps.
Detailing about the need for the movement turning political, Kejriwal said the country was on sale and opposition was not doing its job.
"There is no opposition. All parties are in power. We will have to clean the Assemblies and Parliament. This is the time. If we delay it, the country will be sold in five years," he said. Everybody has a right to form a political party: Venkaiah
Finding fault with claims that laws were not made by common man but by lawmakers, he said, "they say most of the people do not have the knowledge to deal with such issues. Then half of those sitting in Parliament are illiterate.
"If they can make laws, then common man can make laws. If Rabri Devi can run Bihar, then people can make laws," he said.
Members of India Against Corruption Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan with others at a meeting to discuss to form a political outfit, in New Delhi. PTI Photo
A draft vision document envisaging devolution of power to people, fighting corruption, containing inflation, right to reject, right to recall and ensuring fair prices for farm products as objectives of the party was released at the function.
Kejriwal called for a "dharam yudh" in country as he unveiled his party's vision document which he said represented the "aam admi".
"This is not my party. This is your party not mine... it is a party of the people of this country. People are fed up of corruption," Kejriwal said at the Constitution Club.
"There is a dharam yudh in this country. Everyone has to take sides. Our country has become a nation of VIPs. Now there will be only one VIP in this country. The aam aadmi," he said, donning a Gandhi cap with "Mein hoon aam admi, mujhe chahiye Janlokpal" (I am common man, I want Jan Lokpal) printed on it.
"This cap gives us respect. I will wear this for the rest of my life, " he said.
He also announced his party would contest assembly elections in Delhi next year.
The outlines of the vision document titled "Quest for Swaraj" are similar to what his mentor Anna Hazare is also fighting for, though the two have chosen different paths.
The document lists setting up of a powerful Jan Lokpal or ombudsman, electoral reforms, decision making "shifted to or proximate to the people", not allowing education for profit, government to take responsibility for universal healthcare, among other things
The document was released along with other colleagues of the erstwhile Team Anna .
"Democracy is when the people rule the country. We have to change the system where everyone who comes into power becomes greedy. We don't want to change the faces, we want to change the system. We have to change the system within 10-15 days. I used to work in the I-T dept. I know how it works," he said to applause.
"This is just a trailer. Once the party is launched, the full picture will be seen," activist and key member Yogendra Yadav said referring to the document.
Shanti Bhushan, Prashant Bhushan, and Manish Sisodia were the other key members present.
The vision document is, however, to be edited after more consultations, Manish Sisodia said.
Distancing himself from the political route, activist Kumar Vishwas said he will not be a member of the party and will remain apolitical.
"I am not a member of the party. If some thing goes wrong with the party, say after ten years, there should be people left to fight against it at Jantar Mantar," he said.
India Against Corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal addressing his supporters during a protest against hike in power tariffs, in New Delhi. PTI Photo
In an apparent reference to Hazare's remarks that politics is "full of dirt", activist Sanjay Singh said the politics done by Mahatma Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Jyoti Basu, E M S Namboordiripad, or Raj Narain were not so.
"Politics is not always full of dirt. It is being made so," he said.
Referring to Hazare, another activist Gopal Rai said "the objectives of the party are the dreams of the 'fakir' of Ralegan Siddhi. We will make it happen." He also referred to Hazare's remarks of extending support to Kejriwal if he contests election.
(With inputs from IANS)
What the Twitter world said:
Congrats to Arvind Kejriwal & his new party! Journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. New forces are game changers.— KABIR BEDI (@iKabirBedi)
I think Arvind Kejriwal and Anna Hazare should get on to Facebook and make their relationship clear. It's complicated.— Ramesh Srivats (@rameshsrivats)
The more I see Arvind Kejriwal and co, the more I get convinced that Subramanian Swamy smelled them right long ago. Closet Naxalites :( — Kiran Kumar S (@KiranKS)
Arvind Kejriwal is starting his new political party. He should name it Kejriwal Lok Pal Dal - KLPD— Joy (@Joydas)
#Kejriwal is no different. In India everyone condemns everyone else & declares himself as the virtuous. Happening since 5000 years --@Guri02
Politics is the new Indian Idol? #Kejriwal's singing prowess on display --@shailichopra
#Kejriwal's speech sounds similar to what all was happening to Russia around a century ago ... And too similar to Orwell's Animal Farm! --@rathinikesh
Will support Kejriwal if he contests polls: Hazare
Arvind Kejriwal meets Anna Hazare, says no fight with him