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'Aam Aadmi' Not Just About A 'Common Man'

VVP Sharma @vvemuri

Updated: January 3, 2018, 5:07 PM IST
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'Aam Aadmi' Not Just About A 'Common Man'
Supporters of Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party listen to a speech by Delhi chief minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal during a rally in New Delhi. (Representative Image/Reuters)

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In between the two tweets, somewhere, lie the key founding principles -- probity of thought and action for and by the “aam aadmi” (common man) -- of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today, if party leader Kumar Vishwas, who thinks he was cheated of a Rajya Sabha seat, is to be believed.

Vishwas, the poet-politician, said immediately after AAP announced the names of three candidates for the Upper House of Parliament that he was being punished for having “spoken only the truth”.

One of the candidates is Sanjay Singh, the public face of the party, the engineer who campaigned for the rights of street-hawkers. The other two are outsiders. The AAP’s political affairs committee did not even consider any other insider’s name, including Vishwas. Apparently that was done to stem any rebellion by disgruntled leaders. In the event, Vishwas happened!

The party admirably rode the rough weather of explaining the selection of two outsiders. Apparently, the party originally thought of selecting prominent personalities from various professional fields; but they turned down the request for one reason or the other. Then the party wondered if it could send its own leaders to the Rajya Sabha; but the thought of a rebellion dimmed the enthusiasm. So, finally, after having exhausted all other possibilities, the party ended up with two external candidates.

One of them, ND Gupta, is said to be an unimpeachable expert in accountancy and, specially, GST – the latter is the weapon the AAP is trying to beat the BJP with.

The other is Sushil Gupta. He is not just a multi-millionaire. He is an ex-Congressman; he had launched his political career as a member of the NSUI, graduating to the parent party Not just that; he had contested the Delhi assembly elections in 2013 against AAP from Moti Nagar constituency. Recently, he quit the party. His wealth is valued at around Rs. 164 crore. He has a string of educational and health institutions in and around Delhi and Haryana; his specialization, naturally, is in the field of education and health. “Main purely kisaan hoon,” Gupta confided to NEWS18.

The social media was split broadly into two after the nominations were announced. But both sides did wonder about the “aam-ness of the “aam aadmi” party. The AAP explains on its website why it is different from the rest: “As a party born out of a historic anti-corruption movement, the Aam Aadmi Party holds itself to the highest standards of probity. People were tired of the status quo, nepotistic, dynastic, corrupt, criminal and communal nature of our politics, and AAP’s emergence was a breath of fresh air in this backdrop.”

Technically, there is nothing in it that says a rich businessman or a political turncoat cannot be an “aam aadmi”. Technicalities have always served political parties well – technically speaking, there are no dynasts in the Congress, no extremely communal elements in the BJP, no capitalists in the Left parties, no non-Dalits in the BSP, no non-tribals in the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. Why, for that matter, no non-Tamil has ever become chief minister of Tamil Nadu! And so, with Aam Aadmi Party too; except, perhaps, the definition of an “aam aadmi” is a’changin’…
First Published: January 3, 2018, 4:27 PM IST

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