NEW DELHI: Anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday launched a political party promising a revolution to vest power with ordinary people than leaders.
Addressing a public meeting, Kejriwal, who had till recently been a close associate of civil rights activist Anna Hazare, said, “There is no democracy in the country. We want that the people should rule directly. An election every five years is not democracy.
“Seeking people’s opinions before taking decisions is what democracy is.” He said the name of the party would be announced on Nov.26.
However, the party would take up issues affecting common people like the hefty increase in electricity and water tariff in Delhi by organising demonstrations on Sunday and Monday going even to the extent of cutting off power supply to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s residence if she failed to roll back the decision by then.
Saying that “aam admi,” or ordinary people, should be the masters instead of political leaders, he promised to work out a system by which the people would be empowered to decide government policy.
“All parties are corrupt...our party will change the system and not just the faces in parliament,” he said.
“Our country is a nation of VIPs, this VIP culture won’t be tolerated, there will only one VIP and it is the aam admi,” he added.
Declaring his intention to contest the Delhi assembly polls, Kejriwal lashed out against other political parties, including the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“The Congress, BJP, everybody has looted the country. They say we are hungry for power, earlier when one used to fight polls he was called a ‘Desh Bhakt’ (patriot). Now people say that he is hungry for power.”
Taking a dig at media reports about “Kejriwal’s party,” he said, “This is not my party, this is the party of the millions who came to Jantar Mantar and Ramleela Maidan, and this is the party of the people of the country.”
Both Kejriwal and his supporters were seen supporting the Gandhi topi (cap) with the slogan “Main aam admi hoon” (I am an ordinary man).
No pictures of Anna or slogans referring to the septuagenarian activist were used in deference to his wishes.
On the occasion, a vision document titled “Swaraj ka Sankalp” was also released on the occasion.
It said the party candidates standing for elections will have to pledge not to use government accommodation or vehicles with red beacons, once in power. Ordinary people would also play a role in selection of candidates.
Once the candidates are shortlisted, their names would be put up for public scrutiny.
Only those prepared to work for the people’s welfare would be selected.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, EMS Namboordiripad, or Raj Narain were not so.