Nearly 18 months after he brought corruption in sharp focus with his demand for a lokpal, Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday launched the Aam Aadmi Party, to take on the well entrenched political class on its own turf.
The meeting was attended by 320 founding members of the party, which promises to provide more power to gram sabhas and revive the slogan of swaraj (self-rule), which was effectively used during the freedom struggle.
Kejriwal, 44, said he and his colleagues were forced to enter politics following the betrayal by almost all political parties on the lokpal issue. He announced a 23-member national executive, which includes lawyer Prashant Bhushan and political analyst Yogendra Yadav, among others, who parted ways with Anna Hazare.
"We are not politicians and do not understand the game of politics. We have joined (politics) to prevent the country from being looted by those who were elected by the aam aadmi to serve them,” Kejriwal said.
Major parties chose to ignore the new party, though the Congress objected to its name. “Aam aadmi has been synonymous with the Congress since 1885… Nobody can hijack it,” said I&B minister Manish Tewari.
Yadav said the announcement of the party’s name and vision document marks the culmination of the movement against corruption, which got widespread public support. “It has been written in the constitution that two members of the same family cannot be in any unit,” he said, opposing dynastic rule.
Kejriwal and his colleagues have attempted to capitalise on the growing anger against corruption in public life and those aspiring to be party members will have to take an oath to oppose bribery throughout life.