Kejriwal’s party gears up for Delhi polls with election reforms

June 20, 2013

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

The Aam Aadmi Party (common man’s party), led by bureaucrat-turned-activist Arvind Kejriwal, is gearing up for state-level polls in Delhi this year with an array of candidates chosen for their honesty.

Kejriwal’s election plank is to cleanse India of corrupt politicians and bring more transparency to government. With graft scandals embarrassing the ruling Congress and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Aam Aadmi Party is taking a more grassroots approach to the problem: weed out the bad ones before they become candidates.

Anyone can hope to be a election candidate for the party if they are endorsed by 100 potential voters from the constituency they hope to represent. Political analysts say that’s not too difficult but makes the process more transparent.

Among those who have applied so far are a labourer, a riot victim and a former soldier who fought gunmen during the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

With political parties usually considering money, influence and muscle power while choosing candidates, preventing criminals from entering politics is a tough task. In the 2008 Delhi state polls, 91 candidates had criminal cases pending against them; 27 won the elections to become lawmakers.

The Aam Aadmi Party is forcing political aspirants to reveal criminal records in their applications while a screening committee vets the candidates before finalising names. (More on the process here)

“We are talking about clean politics in the country. It would be unfair to choose such candidates,” said Manish Sisodia, a national executive member of the party.

The Aam Aadmi Party is displaying shortlisted names (63 as on June 19 from 800 applications) on its website and at the party office, asking for feedback from the electorate. Political analyst Amulya Ganguly told Reuters it’s a good idea but involving such a large number of people may not be practical.

“No process probably is foolproof. Particularly when you put things on the Internet, people can come up with false allegations also,” says Anil Bairwal of the Association for Democratic Reforms, an NGO working for cleaner politics in India. “(But) doing that also is an important exercise to make the process transparent.”

The party has not yet made public how it will arrive at the final list for Delhi’s 70 seats. But Sisodia says the only criteria would be “winnability” and honesty.

It’s not clear whether transparency can help Kejriwal’s fledgling party trump the Congress or the BJP in the elections. Or will it fizzle out like his anti-corruption campaign?

“It’s a good endeavour but judgment has to be reserved on whether it will be successful,” says Ganguly.

But activists say it’s still an important step towards transparency, regardless of results.

“Even more than the method, there is also the intent behind the method that is important,” says Bairwal.

(Follow Shashank on Twitter @shashankchouhan)


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AAP is doing what is necessary for the country, cleanse Indian politics of corrupts, scoundrels, rapists, murders and swindlers. It is absolutely right that process is fool proof ,but somewhere a beginning has to be made, India has suffered in the hands of these scoundrels, now the young and old as well are not ready to let them be governed by these scoundrels .

Posted by manishindia | Report as abusive

Good work done by AK and AAP. We are with AAP and hopeful that it will change Indian politics for good.

Posted by rajeshk | Report as abusive

AAP is the only hope for India. The amount of ground work that AAP has done in last 8 months among the needy in Delhi is commendable.

The AAP effect is such that people come to AAP these days for their problems instead of going to the concerned departments or local representative. While the elected representatives remain elusive, AAP is fast gaining ground in Delhi as the party which works for Aam Aadmi (Common Man)

They seem to be heading towards a clear win in upcoming Delhi Assembly Elections.

Posted by faheembob | Report as abusive

Writer has not done good home work when he writes “The party has not yet made public how it will arrive at the final list for Delhi’s 70 seats. But Sisodia says the only criteria would be “winnability” and honesty.”
Go this link and step by step process is explained as to how list of 70 candidates will be drawn. First short list will be decided by screening committee and final list out of short listed candidates will be decided by Active Volunteers. Check this out idate-selection-process-delhi-elections- 2013-english-version

Posted by SaurabhIND | Report as abusive

I hope AK is able to form government in Delhi and one of his representative or he himself becomes CM in next Delhi elections.

This will act as a pilot study for us to identify if he should be further elected for his role in central government. History has seen many people were honest before getting in public office but once they got in public office they became corrupt.

I hope it is not true for AK and AAP and hope we will be able to see corruption free India.

Posted by LogicalIndian | Report as abusive

I think Aam Aadmi Party will win Delhi Elections. Let’s hope Arvind Kejriwal do something wonder.

Posted by trueindian1 | Report as abusive

I am also looking for the Arvind Kejriwal win will this elections as per predictions by

Posted by trueindian1 | Report as abusive

AAP is the only beacon of hope
How different or unique they are going to be, only posterity will judge. However their ideals are laudable. They should be given a chance so that the enigmas of corruption, sycophancy and dynastic rule, are dealt with appropriately.

Posted by kachuli | Report as abusive

Point is Corrupt , Incompetent , Family oriented party like
Congress should loose Delhi power this time. AAP or BJP can win & have Govt installed but Congress has to loose. AK ( Kejriwal Sir)as CM will be welcome relief from Chatukar Sheila as Kejriwal Sir will work for Common Man , Sheila used to work for Corporate houses & for Gandhi family not Common Man.

Posted by Sabya | Report as abusive

go for AAP……because INDIA and DELHI DESERVES BETTER…..!!

Posted by naveen_dahiya | Report as abusive

AAP is the right choice baby. As for BJP and congress is concerned, clean sweep them both with BROOM, none should escape.

Posted by SanjayTripathi | Report as abusive

Only AAP party wining the Delhi Elections

Posted by inbox.vidit | Report as abusive

No please no. This guy has no vision and whatever he says borders on socialism. We had enough of those times. Time to break free!

Posted by Woman21 | Report as abusive

those who say arving can become corrupt after gaining some post., for them let me remind you that he was income tax commissioner , even a small income tx officer makes money in crores, just think how much he could have made, he resigned from that post. u need guts , will power, courage and determination, he’s above all, dont even question his credibility

Posted by sonalsingh | Report as abusive

aap will definitely win in these other choice now

Posted by jainayush1 | Report as abusive

I think Aam Aadmi Party will win Delhi Elections. Let’s hope Arvind Kejriwal do something wonder.
in this

Posted by janak18 | Report as abusive

i’m sure aap will win in this general elections.. but the BJP also have good capability for winner teamlet’s see what will be happen

Posted by janak18 | Report as abusive

in this loksabha 2014 election the AAP party will be big game change .. let’s see what will be happened
http://www.loksabhaelections2014results. in/

Posted by janak18 | Report as abusive

Aap party can never bring big change because its image has been spoiled due to Kejriwals decision of leaving Delhi Vidhan sabha seat

Posted by Anand123sri | Report as abusive

Awesome post thanks for sharing, hope new time AAP does a good job

Posted by Biggboss8 | Report as abusive