Eighteen months after he planned a highly successful anti-graft movement under Anna Hazare’s leadership, Arvind Kejriwal, 44, on Tuesday staked his credibility by entering into unchartered territory by announcing the launch of a new political party.
The release of a vision document for the yet-to-be-named party, along with people- friendly promises in full media glare, marked the transition of Kejriwal and many of his former Team Anna colleagues from social activists to politicians.
Kejriwal said no party MP/MLA will be allowed to use red beacons on vehicles or have security personnel. In addition, official bungalows are also on the prohibition list.
Kejriwal said the name and symbol of the party will be announced on November 26, the day on which the country’s constitution was adopted in 1949.
He said the formalities in connection with the registration of the party are yet to be completed.
IAC member Arvind Kejriwal during the launch of his political party. HT photo
The mood on the occasion was summed up by a cryptic comment from social scientist Yogendra Yadav, who said Hazare's absence will be felt. "Anna's presence would have given us strength and more credibility," he said.
Wearing a Gandhi cap, which had become the symbol of Hazare's anti-graft movement over the past one-and-half years, Kejriwal, with photos of Mahatma Gandhi and Lal Bahadur Shastri in the background, said he and his colleagues were not entering politics for the sake of power.
"Political parties used to challenge us that we should enter politics if we want to get the Jan Lokpal Bill passed, so today, we declare our entry into politics," he said. Former law minister and veteran lawyer, Shanti Bhushan, who is the only individual in the entire team with political experience, termed the development as "historic". Quest for Swaraj
Major political parties appeared to be unimpressed with team Kejriwal's political foray. "I can only tell you that it is easy to start a political party. But, there is great difficulty in sustaining it," said senior BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu. Congress leader and union minister Harish Rawat said the constitution allowed everybody to take part in the political process.