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AAP's spectacular debut: Not a 'clean' sweep, but close enough!

December 08, 2013 20:22 IST

AAP's spectacular debut in Delhi!

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When the fledgling Aam Aadmi Party was allotted the ‘broom' as its poll symbol just 100 days ago, there may have been ominous signs for the Congress which had ruled Delhi for 15 straight years, if one went by some historic broom lore.

According to an old American folklore, if you place a broom on the floor, it will indicate to your guests that they have stayed long enough.

The AAP, the underdog, had pledged during the launch of the party a year back that it was here to stay as a political party and change the way politics is done within the next 20 years.

Mainstream parties often poked fun at broom-wielding AAP leaders and workers.

A contemptuous message was also posted about the anti-corruption activism in the country by Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, who wrote on his Facebook page: "Mango people in banana republic”.

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Image: Arvind Kejriwal waves to his supporters
Photographs: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

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AAP's spectacular debut in Delhi!

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The AAP, which was built on idealism and brought together disparate groups on a platform to fight corruption, had submitted 'broom', 'candle' and 'tap' as its three most preferred symbols in the order of priority.

The symbol of 'broom’ also went along with the party’s slogans of cleaning the polity of corruption amid a spate of scams that dogged the United Progressive Alliance government.

"With this, the party has crossed the second milestone (after its registration) on its way to cleaning up the polity of the country," the AAP said in a statement after it was allotted the 'broom' symbol on August 1.

"With the 'broom' which symbolises dignity of labour, the party hopes to clean the filth which has permeated our government and our legislature. The country needs a clean sweep of its corrupted main stream political parties," it said.

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Image: AAP workers celebrate with brooms
Photographs: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

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AAP's spectacular debut in Delhi!

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On Sunday, December 8, the AAP made a stunning debut to become the main opposition party in Delhi, besides helping end the 15-year uninterrupted rule of the Congress.

The AAP, which emerged as the second largest party after the BJP in Delhi, was formally launched on November 26, 2012.

It came into existence following differences between Kejriwal and Hazare regarding whether to politicise the popular India Against Corruption movement that had been demanding a Jan Lokpal Bill since 2011.

Hazare wanted the movement to remain politically unaligned while Kejriwal felt the failure of the agitation route necessitated a direct political involvement.

The AAP has led several protests since its formation. Among these was a campaign against an alleged nexus between government and private corporations related to price rises for electricity and water in Delhi. Another saw the party demanding justice for victims of sexual harassment and rape, including the introduction of a stronger anti-rape law.

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Image: Arvind Kejriwal addresses the media after defeating Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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AAP's spectacular debut in Delhi!

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Hazare and Kejriwal agreed on September 19, 2012 that their differences regarding a role in politics were irreconcilable.

Kejriwal had support from some well-known people involved in the anti-corruption movement, such as Prashant Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan, but was opposed by others such as Kiran Bedi and Santosh Hegde.

On October 2, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Kejriwal announced that he was forming a political party.

A party constitution was adopted on November 24, 2012.

The party claims that the common people remain unheard and unseen except when it suits the politicians to consider them. It wants to reverse the way the accountability system of the government operates.

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Image: AAP workers celebrate in Delhi
Photographs: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

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AAP's spectacular debut in Delhi!

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Kejriwal says the AAP refuses to be guided by ideologies and they are entering politics to change the system.

"We are aam aadmis. If we find our solution in the Left, we are happy to borrow it from there. If we find our solution in the right, we are happy to borrow it from there," he was quoted as having said.

The party produced a separate manifesto for each constituency. The candidates were being screened for potential criminal backgrounds and the party claimed to have selected honest candidates.

The AAP's central manifesto had promised to implement the Jan Lokapal Bill within 15 days of coming to power.

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Image: AAP workers celebrate
Photographs: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

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