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Pics: Show of strength at Aam Aadmi Party's first rally

Last updated on: November 26, 2012 20:31 IST

Pics: Show of strength at Aam Aadmi Party's first rally

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Priyanka

Priyanka captures the upbeat mood at Jantar Mantar on Parliament Street where Arvind Kejriwal's party was formally launched on Monday.

A 10,000-strong crowd attended the first public meeting of the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party at Parliament Street in New Delhi on Monday.

Supporters donning trademark 'aam admi' caps, carried flags and shouted slogans excitedly at the rally. They came from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat.

Members of the national executive occupied the dais. On Sunday, the party had already chosen members who would be holding key positions.

Arvind Kejriwal had been elected as the national convenor, Pankaj Gupta, who was described as the silent worker in the party as the national secretary and Krishna Kant as the party treasurer.

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Image: Supporters of Kejriwal at the party's first rally at Jantar Mantar
Photographs: Courtesy: AAP Facebook page

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Show of strength at Aam Aadmi Party's first rally

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For most part, party member Kumar Vishwas conducted the proceedings on stage. He had opted to stay out of the political party when Kejriwal first announced to form one. "We have often assumed that the office would be working fine because he (Pankaj Gupta) is there to take care of it," Vishwas said.

Addressing an impressive gathering at Parliament Street in New Delhi, Kejriwal also asserted that Jan Lokpal will be passed in Parliament within 15 days of the AAP coming to power.

"There is no end to the list of corrupt ministers and leaders in the country. All these people should be charged and sent to jail if charges against them are proved.

"I assure you people that if the common man's party and common man come to power, all these people will be tried and jailed within six months," he said in his valedictory address at the launch ceremony.

Flanked by Shanti Bhushan and former Navy Chief Admiral Ramdass who drafted the party's Constitution, he took pains to explain to people assembled there how different his outfit was from the existing political parties whom he accused of having "looted the country since Independence."

Kejriwal also announced that former chief justice of Jharkhand high court Justice Bhagwati Prasad Sharma and Admiral Ramdass will be members of the party's first "internal Lokpal" which would inquire into any allegations against members and functionaries of the AAP.

He said the 2014 elections would witness a unique political battle, which would not be between two political parties, but between politicians and the common man.

"Now it will be neta (politician) versus aam admi (common man). The common man, suffering for the last 65 years, is going to establish his own party and sit in the Parliament," he said.


Image: Supporters don the 'aam aadmi' caps as the participate in the rally
Photographs: Courtesy: AAP Facebook page

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Show of strength at Aam Aadmi Party's first rally

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It was a show of strength, in terms of sheer numbers. The AAP brought in members of ground movements such as Gurnam Singh of the Kisan Andolan to address the crowd.

The terror attack of 26/11 and its response however dominated the events at the rally. National executive member Shazia Ilmi read out a message by Vinita Kamte, wife of the slain officer Ashok Kamte. "Many of us are fighting our fights at the individual level, and you (Arvind Kejriwal) are fighting it for the aam admi without any agenda of your own," the message read.

Among others, former National Security Guard commando Surender Singh was also present on the stage. He and Kejriwal had held a press conference in the capital a couple of days ago alleging that Singh and eight of his colleagues had not received proper recognition after the 26/11 attacks. He had also claimed that he has not received any pension for the last 13 months.

Singh spoke to the audiences for a few minutes and reiterated that the funds that he was told were for the commandos, including Rs 7 lakh fund by cricketer Mahinder Singh Dhoni, never reached them.

"One of my colleagues was shot eight times, and he was recuperating in the hospital. He was called back to duty midway through his treatment; he still has a bullet left inside of him," Singh said, adding that he and his colleagues were being pressurised to keep mum.


Photographs: Courtesy: AAP Facebook page

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Show of strength at Aam Aadmi Party's first rally

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"The government didn't give importance to them, but the government is not important to us," said Kejriwal to cheers from the crowd. "The party is born out of a common man's struggle against corruption."

Former navy chief Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas too shared the dais and presented a shawl to Singh.

Team Kejriwal paid short visits to Rajghat and the B R Ambedkar Bhawan before reaching the venue. A party member revealed that 10,000 people had already filled forms to join the party. This was the count at around 1 pm on Monday. An order for publishing a second set of membership forms had to be placed.


Image: AAP party men collect membership forms at the rally
Photographs: Courtesy: AAP Facebook page

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Show of strength at Aam Aadmi Party's first rally

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People cheered as it was aanounced on stage, that there are represenations from Farrukhabad, Rae Bareli, Paratpganj, Meerut in the audience. The cheers grew louder as there were reports that a women had offered her house in Dehradun, which could be used as party office.

Crowds sang AAP's anthem -- Jag gaya hun, main hun aam admi -- with much gusto.

Clearly, it was an attempt to brign the aam admi to the forefront. A rickshaw puller, Vijay Baba who had spent hours distributing pamphlets of the rally on his rickshaw, spoke to the audience and asked for their suport for Kejriwal.

Among all the excitement of the launch, the AAP has one big question on top of its mind. How much of the support and crowd turnout would actually translate into a vote count? But today, the support to AAP's first political rally cannot be easily dismissed.

With inputs from PTI


Image: The stage at the rally in Jantar Mantar
Photographs: Courtesy: AAP Facebook page

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