Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of the Anna movement and the man who brought social activist Anna Hazare to the national stage, is launching a political party without a name.
His party's name has not been registered yet, so he is unable to announce it. However, not many people think that his party, at least in the next few years, will be in the same league as that of the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Communist Party of India. But there are a few political analysts who agree that Kejriwal is likely to contribute in setting an agenda for the next general election.
He ably contributed in making young people conscious of corruption but failed miserably in keeping his movement intact or his party's affable mascot -- Anna -- on his side. Nevertheless, disregarding his critics and the ridicule heaped upon him, Kejriwal is moving ahead.
Kejriwal will pick anything from Left-leaning ideas to right-wing solutions for the problems nagging India. He says his party will not take any fixed ideological positions.
In an exclusive interview to rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt, Arvind Kejriwal says that people should vote for a party they think will ensure a better future.
Excerpts from the interview.
Why do you need a political party?
We were left with no option. With no party supporting the Jan Lokpal bill we were forced to launch our own party. We went on a fast, talked to the government, organised morchas, we pleaded with the people in power. Nothing worked; nothing moved. In this country all the natural resources have been stolen. What will be left for our future generations?
How will you get funds in millions of rupees to run the party?
Our political party is still a movement. People will contribute to it. If Sheela Bhatt is fed up with the current political setup, she will contribute. This election is not ours. We believe it is the election of the people's choice. We believe in people's democracy. We rather lose the election if you or any voter thinks that your future is more secure with the BJP or the Congress.
Neither defeat nor victory is ours. It will be the people's mandate. All our meetings, all over India, are arranged with local funds by local people.
'Our party is not ideology based'
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
What about Anna Hazare? If you could not manage to keep him with you, how will you take the country along with you?
Anna's absence is a big loss. I am feeling bad. All of us are unhappy about it. I won't say our team is broken though. A few who walked with us are no more with us. Tomorrow, when our party is launched, you will see who is with us and how many of us are part of the movement.
Who will be the party president? Who will be general secretary?
I am not sure. Our party structure will be different.
Will your party be Left-of-centre or Right-of-centre?
Our party is not ideology based. We don't have an ideological position. We will look for solutions to problems. If we find the solutions in the Left ideology we will choose it. If we find "right liberals" in a better position to offer solution, we will go for it. We will decide differently for different cases but we will take decisions for the good of people.
Will you oppose dynastic politics in your party?
Yes. In our party two persons from the same family will not be able to fight an election.
'This is the last chance to change our future'
Photographs: B Mathur/Reuters
What are the do's and don'ts to become a member of your party?
Our party structure is different. We don't have a youth wing as other parties do. The youth will not be alienated. They can be in the working committees and at all other levels.
How will you remain corruption-free?
In case we come to power, within the first ten days we will pass the Jan Lokpal bill. Our elected representatives will be prosecuted if they indulge in corruption. For the other office bearers we have made an arrangement to have our own internal Lokpal consisting of two retired judges. Our party constitution recommends the right to recall elected representatives if they find them corrupt or even if they turn arrogant or become inaccessible.
Will your party hurt the Congress more than the BJP?
We will hurt both of them equally. Whoever is corrupt will be hit by our campaign. Please tell the readers of rediff.com that if they think the BJP is the right alternative, then vote for it. If they think the future of their family is safe with the Congress, then vote for it.
Whichever party you think will ensure a better future, vote for that party. We want to ensure a better future for the people of India. Our belief is that the entire political setup is corrupt and this is the last chance to change our future. Such a chance will not come again in next 30 or 40 years. We are left with little time. We should take the prudent judgement to save our future.
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