NEW DELHI-Anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal made his political debut with a party, whose name is to be announced next month, and 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.
The official name of the party will be declared on Nov 26.
“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.
Kejriwal, who was among those who drafted the Team Anna’s Jan Lokpal bill, had announced launch of his political party last month. However, it resulted in a break with Anna Hazare, the face of the campaign. Hazare on Monday denied any differences with Kejriwal and said he would support him if he contested against Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal.
Discussing his political outfit, Kejriwal said: “People will give us money – they will campaign, they will fight the elections.”
Replying to a question on Hazare supporting the outfit, Kejriwal said: “It is a test for us. If we put up good candidates, Anna will support.”
In a challenge to the Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Kejriwal announced a massive campaign against high electricity bills. “People should not pay electricity bills, and if the government disconnects anyone’s electricity, we will reconnect it. I am ready to go to jail. We will not just gherao (lay siege to) chief minister’s (Sheila Dikshit) residence, but will disconnect her electricity,” Kejriwal announced.
He threatened to hold a protest here Sunday if the state government did not announce a rollback of the electricity tariff hike.
He also said he would disclose corruption cases against some leading political figures Saturday.
“On Oct 6, we will reveal corruption charges we have against two very important people in this country. We have a lot of evidence against them,” he said.
Kejriwal said both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were working in tandem. “They work in tandem, there is no opposition in the country. We are the opposition.”
The BJP welcomed launch of his political party, saying all Indians have the right to contest elections.
“There are so many political parties and it is good they are floating a party. All citizens have the right to form a party and contest elections,” said BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain.–IANS