Delhi polls: AAP turns one, confident of making history | india | Hindustan Times
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Delhi polls: AAP turns one, confident of making history

Tuesday was supposed to be a special day. The Aam Aadmi Party was formed exactly a year ago. But the party office in central Delhi did not witness celebrations.

india Updated: Nov 27, 2013 01:32 IST
Darpan Singh

Tuesday was supposed to be a special day. The Aam Aadmi Party was formed exactly a year ago. But the party office in central Delhi did not witness celebrations.

Instead, embattled leaders tried to come to terms with harsh political realities --- they had dropped a candidate because he was facing criminal charges and continued their defence against allegations of corruption.

“No matter how much we strive to set high moral standards, you will never be satisfied. On the party’s first birthday, I take it as a compliment,” said AAP strategist Yogendra Yadav.

“How much of the support we are getting translates into electoral success will be known only on December 8 (when results are announced), but we have certainly made rapid progress in the last one year,” he said.

There is a general feeling that the party has definitely opened up a new space in the political discourse, even if a genuine triangular contest does not happen. By taking a high moral ground, AAP leaders have sought to re-instill guilt consciousness among other parties. Candidates are young, have fresh ideas and campaigning is innovative.

“What a remarkable journey it has been. Donors showed that clean donations can power an entire election, volunteers brought unprecedented innovation in their campaigns and the growing support will make history on December 4,” party leader Arvind Kejriwal told supporters on Tuesday.

However, political experts are quick to point out fault lines. They say the fledgling party is making undeliverable promises and wants to cure all ills in Delhi only by eliminating corruption. Like other parties, AAP also wants to “ensure justice” to particular communities.

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Ravi Ranjan, a fellow at developing countries research centre (DU), says, “They’re also pumping money into campaigning. Will there not be a quid pro quo with NRIs who are supporting them. There is a rush to get to power; they could have chosen to fight from fewer seats.”

“In the recent sting operation case, they gave clean chits to their candidates; they should have invited civil society or sent the tapes to a forensic lab. They’re conducting their own surveys; what is the credibility? They also lack organisational set-up.” he says.

The party looked to tap into public anger and exposed corruption in supplies of electricity and water. Even rivals admit AAP has caught the imagination of the people, forcing its rivals to take it seriously. It seemed to be peaking at the right time but recent corruption charges, “differences” with Anna Hazare and a central probe into foreign funding may hurt the party.

The party disagrees. “Despite several attempts to malign and defame AAP, we have come out clean every time. We will try our best to continue treading the path of righteousness,” a party statement said.