Aam Aadmi Party
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP; transl. Common Man's Party) is a political party in India, founded in 2012. It styles itself as an alternative to the mainstream Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian National Congress. It currently runs the state government in Delhi, having held a supermajority in the Delhi Legislative Assembly since the 2015 election, limiting BJP to a few seats and pushing Congress out entirely. It retained its supermajority in the 2020 elections.
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|Spokesperson||Saurabh Bhardwaj and others|
|Lok Sabha leader||Bhagwant Mann|
|Rajya Sabha leader||Sanjay Singh|
|Founder||Arvind Kejriwal and others|
|Founded||26 November 2012|
|Headquarters||206, Rouse Avenue, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, ITO, New Delhi, India-110002|
|Student wing||Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS)|
|Youth wing||AAP Youth Wing (AYW)|
|Women's wing||AAP Mahila Shakti (AMS)|
|Labour wing||Shramik Vikas Sangathan (SVS)|
|Membership||10.05 million (2014)[needs update]|
Liberal socialism[better source needed]
|Political position||Centre to centre-left|
|ECI Status||State Party|
|Seats in Lok Sabha|
1 / 545
|Seats in Rajya Sabha|
3 / 245
|Seats in State Legislative Assemblies|
|Number of states and union territories in government|
1 / 31
Formally launched in November 2012, AAP came into existence following differences between activists Arvind Kejriwal and Anna Hazare regarding whether or not to politicise the popular India Against Corruption movement that had been demanding a Jan Lokpal Bill since 2011. Hazare preferred that the movement should remain politically unaligned, while Kejriwal felt the failure of the agitation route necessitated direct political involvement.
The party made its electoral debut in the 2013 Delhi Legislative Assembly election and emerged as second largest party after BJP. AAP made a coalition with Indian National Congress to form a short lived government which only lasted 49 days and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal resigned after Jan Lokpal Bill couldn't be introduced in the assembly. In the following elections in 2015, AAP won 67 of the 70 seats in the assembly, limiting BJP at just 3 and pushing Congress completely out of assembly. AAP although again swept 2020 Delhi Legislative Assembly election with 62 seats, it had lost all 7 constituencies in Delhi to BJP in national elections in 2019.
The AAP has its origins in the India Against Corruption movement. Massive anti-corruption protests and strikes in 2011 were initiated by a well known social activist Anna Hazare in response to exposure of unprecedented financial scams and corruption by erstwhile UPA government. The aim was to press the government to enact a strong and effective Lokpal (Federal Ombudsman) through a Jan Lokpal Bill. Hazare was supported by a clutch of activists and professionals which became popularly known as Team Anna. Team Anna also included a civil-servant turned activist Arvind Kejriwal. Hazare had wanted to keep the movement politically neutral but Kejriwal considered that direct involvement in politics was necessary because attempts to obtain progress regarding the Jan Lokpal Bill through talks with existing political parties had, in his opinion, achieved nothing. A survey conducted on a Facebook page that purported to be operated by India Against Corruption and other social networking services had indicated that there was wide support for politicisation. Hazare rejected the poll, saying "elections require huge funds, which will be tough for activists to organise without compromising on their values". He also said it would be difficult to ensure that candidates are not corrupted once elected. Hazare and Kejriwal agreed on 19 September 2012 that their differences regarding a role in politics were irreconcilable. Kejriwal had support from some anti-corruption movement activists, such as Prashant Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan, but was opposed by others such as Kiran Bedi and Santosh Hegde. On 2 October, Kejriwal announced that he was forming a political party and that he intended the formal launch to be on 26 November, coinciding with the anniversary of India's adoption of its Constitution in 1949.
The party's name reflects the phrase Aam Aadmi (transl. common man), whose interests Kejriwal proposed to represent. A party constitution was adopted on 24 November 2012, when a National Council comprising 320 people and a National Executive of 23 were also formed. Both the Council and the Executive were expected to have more members in due course, with the intention being that all districts and all classes of people would have a voice. Various committees were proposed to be formed to draft proposals for adoption by the party in a process that was expected to take several months. Although one aim was to limit nepotism, there were complaints at this initial meeting that the selection of people invited to attend was itself an example of such practices. The party was formally launched in Delhi on 26 November and in March 2013, it was registered as a political party by the Election Commission of India.
On 26 November 2012, the formal launch day of the AAP, former law minister Shanti Bhushan donated ₹10 million (US$140,000) to the party. Prashant Bhushan, his son, was a member of the party's National Executive Committee. The party raised ₹20 crore (US$2.8 million) by November 2013 and received ₹18 crore (US$2.5 million) in 2015 assembly polls.
The AAP was launched with a claim of being transparent in its funding; however, it failed to disclose some relevant details on its website. The removal of funding details was questioned by Yogendra Yadav and Anna Hazare in 2016.
On 18 May 2013, a group of Indian Americans from 20 different cities in the USA held a convention in Chicago and extended support to the AAP. The convention was attended by two AAP leaders, Kumar Vishwas and Yogendra Yadav, and Kejriwal addressed it via video conferencing. Aruna Roy and Medha Patkar, who had differences with Kejriwal on certain issues, supported him after his 15-day fast against inflated electricity bills.
Two of the founders of the party, Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav, left Aam Aadmi Party and formed Swaraj Abhiyan.
Ideology and issues
At the time of formation, the AAP said that the promise of equality and justice that forms a part of the Constitution of India and of its preamble has not been fulfilled and that the Independence of India has replaced enslavement to an oppressive foreign power with that to a political elite. It claimed that the common people of India remain unheard and unseen except when it suits politicians. The AAP's goal is to reverse the way that government accountability operates, and the party takes an interpretation of the Gandhian concept of swaraj as a tenet. It believes that through swaraj, the government will be directly accountable to the people instead of higher officials. The swaraj model lays stress on self-governance, community building, and decentralization.
Kejriwal has stated that the AAP refuses to be guided by ideologies and that they are entering politics to change the system, saying, "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."
In early 2014, there was some media speculation that an alliance might form between the AAP and the Communist Party of India. Prakash Karat, the CPI(M) leader, thought that there were some ideological similarities between the two parties, such as their agendas relating to social justice and decentralisation of power. The AAP's Prashant Bhushan explicitly refuted any joining of forces, claiming that there was corruption within the CPI(M). A columnist, T. C. A. Srinivasa Raghavan, said that the AAP was right-wing when it came to morality and left-wing when it came to economics. However, the party advocates scrapping Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and legalizing both homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The party is also regarded as being populist and to the left of the Indian National Congress economically.
On 23 March 2013, Kejriwal began an indefinite fast in an attempt to mobilise people against inflated power and electricity bills at a house in Sundar Nagri, a low-income group resettlement colony in North-East Delhi. During the protest, he urged Delhi citizens not to pay "inflated" water and electricity bills. The AAP also demanded an audit of power and electricity supply in Delhi by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, something that was also supported by civil society groups like the National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM). The AAP claimed that the protest gathered support from 100,000 people in Delhi on a single day and more than 300,000 people up to 28 March 2013. Anna Hazare urged Kejriwal to end the fast on 29 March and he did so on 6 April.
On 10 June 2013, Kejriwal supported agitation by Delhi auto rickshaw drivers, who were protesting the Delhi government's ban on advertisements on auto rickshaws. Kejriwal claimed the government's ban was because the drivers supported his party and carried AAP's advertisements on their vehicles. He said that the AAP would put 10,000 advertisements on auto rickshaws as a protest. In retrospect, after Kejriwal had been elected and then resigned his position, a union representing the drivers expressed dissatisfaction, saying: "Arvind Kejriwal, who had won the elections because of the support of the auto drivers, has betrayed them by not fulfilling any of the promises made before the elections".
General election results
|Year||Legislature||Party leader||Seats contested||Seats won||Change in seats||Percentage of votes||Vote swing||Ref.|
|2014||16th Lok Sabha||Arvind Kejriwal||432||
4 / 543
|2019||17th Lok Sabha||Arvind Kejriwal||35||
1 / 543
State assembly elections
|Election Year||Overall votes||% of overall votes||seats contested||seats won||+/- in seats||+/- in vote share||Sitting side|
|Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly|
0 / 90
|Delhi Legislative Assembly|
28 / 70
67 / 70
62 / 70
|Goa Legislative Assembly|
0 / 70
|Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly|
|Gujarat Legislative Assembly|
0 / 182
|Haryana Legislative Assembly|
0 / 90
|Jharkhand Legislative Assembly|
0 / 81
|Karnataka Legislative Assembly|
0 / 124
|Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly|
0 / 230
|Maharashtra Legislative Assembly|
0 / 288
|Meghalaya Legislative Assembly|
0 / 60
|Nagaland Legislative Assembly|
0 / 60
|Odisha Legislative Assembly|
0 / 146
|Punjab Legislative Assembly|
20 / 117
|Rajasthan Legislative Assembly|
0 / 200
|Telangana Legislative Assembly|
0 / 119
|Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly|
|Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly|
Delhi Assembly election, 2013
The 2013 Delhi state assembly elections were the party's first electoral contest. The Election Commission approved the symbol of a broom for use by the AAP in that campaign. The party said that its candidates were honest and had been screened for potential criminal backgrounds. It published its central manifesto on 20 November 2013, promising to implement the Jan Lokpal Bill within 15 days of coming to power.
In November 2013, a sting operation conducted by Media Sarkar alleged that several leaders of the AAP, including Kumar Vishwas and Shazia Ilmi, had agreed to extend their support to some people seeking assistance with land deals and other financial arrangements in return for donations in cash to the AAP. Ilmi offered to withdraw her candidature as a result, but the party refused to accept her offer, describing the footage as fabricated and a violation of the Model Code of Conduct. The Election Commission ordered an inquiry regarding the legitimacy of the video.[clarification needed]
The AAP emerged as the second-largest party in Delhi, winning 28 of the 70 Assembly seats; the Bharatiya Janata Party, as the largest party, won 31, while its ally Shiromani Akali Dal, won 1; Indian National Congress won 8, and two were won by others. On 28 December 2013, the AAP formed a minority government in the hung Assembly, with what Sheila Dikshit describes as "not unconditional" support from Indian National Congress. Kejriwal became the second-youngest Chief Minister of Delhi. As a result of the Delhi elections, the AAP became a recognised state party in Delhi.
General election, 2014
The AAP fielded 434 candidates in the 2014 Indian general election, in which it did not expect to do well. It recognised that its support was based primarily in urban areas and that different strategies might be required for different regions of the country. The party pointed out that its funding was limited and that there were too many demands for local visits from Kejriwal. The intention was to field candidates in large numbers to maximise the likelihood of recognition as a national party by the Election Commission. The outcome was that four AAP candidates won, all from Punjab. Consequently, the AAP became a recognised state party in Punjab. The party obtained 2% of all votes cast nationwide and 414 of its candidates forfeited their deposit by failing to secure one-sixth of the vote in their constituencies. Although the party secured 32.9 per cent of the votes in Delhi, it failed to win any seats there.
The criticism of Kejriwal's style of leadership continued with National Executive member Yogendra Yadav's letter to his party members, in which he claimed the members were "falling prey to a personality cult". He said, "Let me reiterate that Arvind Bhai is no ordinary leader and there are no two opinions about his continuing as the national convener; nor have I ever doubted his status as first among equals within the party's leadership. The real question is whether there are limits to personal discretion of the leader."
After the National Executive meeting on 8 June, the party and Kejriwal acknowledged these differences and announced the launch of "Mission Vistar" (Mission Expand), to include more people in local as well as national decision making.
Delhi Assembly election, 2015
The Delhi state assembly elections for the Sixth Legislative Assembly of Delhi were held on 7 February 2015, as declared by the Election Commission of India. The Aam Aadmi Party scored a landslide victory by winning a majority of 67 of the 70 seats. The BJP was able to win 3 seats and the Congress party saw all its candidates lose. Kejriwal became the Chief Minister for the second time. The AAP had started campaigning in Delhi in November 2014 and declared candidates for all 70 seats.
During the campaign, Kejriwal generated controversy by asking volunteers to take bribes from other parties while recording the bribe. He claimed that the BJP had been trying to bribe AAP volunteers. The situation caused the Election Commission of India to instruct Kejriwal to desist from breaking laws governing the model code of conduct for elections in India, but the Delhi court then allowed Kejriwal to challenge this.
The President's Rule was subsequently rescinded and Kejriwal became the Chief Minister of Delhi with six cabinet ministers (Manish Sisodia, Asim Ahmed Khan, Sandeep Kumar, Satyendar Jain, Gopal Rai, and Jitender Singh Tomar).
Major differences surfaced within the party leadership soon after its victory. It created deep fissures between the founding members who had together championed the India Against Corruption movement. Problems emerged in February 2015 when Yogendra Yadav and Prashanth Bhushan wrote a joint letter to the National Executive, highlighting Kejriwal's tendency to unilateral decision-making, which they alleged had compromised the party's core principle of Swaraj. After continued allegations, counter-allegations and several failed attempts at reconciliation between the two sides, Yadav and Bhushan were first removed from the PAC and later from the National Executive after the party's National Council passed a resolution to expel them for their alleged anti-party activities. Party leaders refuted accusations made by Yadav and Bhushan at the meeting that the party was murdering democracy and resorting to intimidation. In April 2015, Yadav, Bhushan, Anand Kumar, and Ajit Jha were removed from the party.
Assembly elections, 2017
The AAP contested the 2017 Goa Legislative Assembly election and 2017 Punjab Legislative Assembly election. It lost all the seats and failed to save deposits of 38 out of 39 seats in Goa, on which its candidates contested.
For the 2017 Punjab Legislative Assembly election, the Lok Insaaf Party allied with the AAP. This alliance was called the AAP Alliance and was represented on news channels as AAP+. It won 22 seats in total, two of which were won by the Lok Insaaf Party and the other twenty by the AAP.
General election, 2019
Unlike the 2014 Indian general election, the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the party decided to contest elections on limited seats of some of the states and all the seats in Delhi, Goa, and Punjab. In the state of Haryana, the AAP formed an alliance with Dushyant Chautala's Jannayak Janata Party to contest three Lok Sabha constituencies. The PAC also decided to support and campaign for CPI (M) in Kerala. The party also fielded its first transgender candidate from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. The AAP lost 39 of the 40 seats it had contested across nine states and UTs. The following is a list of candidates for some of the constituencies:
|Chandni Chowk#1||Pankaj Gupta||Lost|
|North East Delhi#2||Dilip Pandey||Lost|
|East Delhi#3||Atishi Marlena||Lost|
|New Delhi#4||Brijesh Goyal||Lost|
|North West Delhi#5||Gugan Singh||Lost|
|West Delhi#6||Balbir Singh Jakhar||Lost|
|South Delhi#7||Raghav Chadha||Lost|
|Karnal#5||Krishan Kumar Agarwal||Lost|
|North Goa#1||Pradeep Padgaonkar||Lost|
|South Goa#2||Elvis Gomes||Lost|
|Amritsar#2||Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal||Lost|
|Khadoor Sahib#3||Manjinder Singh Sidhu||Lost|
|Hoshiarpur#5||Dr Ravjot Singh||Lost|
|Anandpur Sahib#6||Narinder Singh Shergill||Lost|
|Fatehgarh Sahib#8||Baljinder Singh Chonda||Lost|
|Firozpur#10||Harjinder Singh Kaka||Lost|
|Gautam Buddh Nagar#13||Shweta Sharma||Lost|
|Aligarh#15||Satish Chandra Sharma||Lost|
|Allahabad#52||Bhawani Nath Valmiki||Lost|
Delhi Assembly election, 2020
Voting for the Delhi Assembly elections took place on 8 February 2020, following vehement campaigns run by the major political parties contesting the election. The counting of votes and subsequent announcement of results happened on 11 February.
The Aam Aadmi Party retained the government as the party won 62 out of 70 seats. Arvind Kejriwal became the Chief Minister of Delhi for the third consecutive time. The party's vote share was 53.5%, according to the results.
Elections in 2022
In January 2021, Arvind Kejriwal confirmed that AAP will contest in 6 state election in 2022 - Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and Punjab.
Current leaders in Houses
|Lok Sabha||Bhagwant Mann||Sangrur||Punjab|
|Rajya Sabha||Sanjay Singh||Delhi|
|Delhi Legislative Assembly||Arvind Kejriwal||New Delhi||Delhi|
|Punjab Legislative Assembly||Harpal Singh Cheema||Dirba||Punjab|
Government of Delhi
After coming to power in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal announced a reduction in electricity bills for up to 400 units, driven by subsidy. He also ordered an audit of power distribution companies. The AAP government also announced that homes with metered connections would receive 20 kilolitres of free water per month, but would have to pay 10% more if they exceeded that limit. The government scrapped the Foreign Direct Investment in multibrand retail. It established an anti-graft helpline for citizens to report corrupt officials.
The government's plan to conduct Janata Durbars (public hearings with ministers) was abandoned due to mismanagement. Vinod Kumar Binny, an AAP Member of the Legislative Assembly, was expelled after rebelling against the party.
On 20 January 2014, Kejriwal and his ministers staged protests at Rail Bhavan against the Union Government Home Ministry. These came after his Law Minister, Somnath Bharti, had been dissatisfied with the response from the Delhi police to allegations relating to a neighborhood popular with immigrants from Uganda and Nigeria. Kejriwal demanded that the police should come under direct control of the Delhi government and that officers who had refused to do as Bharti had requested should be suspended. He said that the protest would not hamper his work as he had brought along files and would carry on working from the venue of the protest. He later claimed that it was the first time in Indian political history that a Chief Minister had protested on the streets to raise his government's demands for a fair inquiry. After two days, he ended his fast when the Lieutenant Governor, Najeeb Jung, intervened by suspending two police officers involved and set up a judicial inquiry.
Also in January 2014, the party's office in Ghaziabad was attacked by right-wing activists protesting against Prashant Bhushan, who had expressed a personal opinion against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Jammu & Kashmir by mentioning a referendum in that state to decide whether the people wanted the army to handle internal security. This caused the AAP to determine that its prominent members would in future refrain from expressing opinions on anything that was not agreed upon by a broad consensus within the party.
By January 2014, financial support for the party from non-resident Indians had halved during the party's period in government, possibly reflecting disenchantment. The party also admitted that its systems may have significantly overstated members introduced through a nationwide recruitment campaign that was affected by hoaxers.
In February 2014, the AAP tried to introduce a Jan Lokpal Bill in the Delhi Assembly. However, Jung said that the AAP government tabling the bill without his agreement would be "unconstitutional" because the correct procedures for introduction had not been followed. This view was supported by Congress and the BJP, and Jung advised the Assembly Speaker not to allow the tabling. The AAP government stated that it was following all the procedures and there was no need to obtain prior approval from the centre or Lieutenant Governor to table the bill. When the BJP and INC blocked the introduction of the bill, the AAP government resigned and Delhi was placed under President's rule instead. Kejriwal alleged that there was a nexus among Congress, the BJP, and the industrialist Mukesh Ambani, and that the two parties had "ganged up" against the AAP after it filed a First Information Report against Ambani. In March, the party declared that it would seek re-election.
In December 2015, the AAP asked all private schools to make their own criteria for making the admission process transparent by uploading the criteria on the school website. In a follow-up move in early 2016, the AAP government scrapped all admission quotas from private schools except for children from extremely weak socioeconomic backgrounds. In 2015, Advocate Prashant Patel challenged a decision by Arvind Kejriwal, who had appointed 21 AAP MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries to seven ministries.
In 2016, the AAP government launched a campaign to focus on the reading ability of students after it found that 3.5 lakh students in grades 6–8 could not read. It ran a two-month "crash course", which it claimed led to 1 lakh such students now being able to read their textbooks.
The government also formed a panel to investigate the finances of schools in Delhi. The panel scrutinised a total of 1,108 private unaided schools, and identified some as having overcharged parents on the pretext of implementing recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. The government ordered these schools to return the excess fee back to the students' parents, failing which it threatened to take over the institutions. The announcement received mixed responses: some perceived it as a justified attack on financial malpractice and unjustified fee hikes, while the Delhi High Court was of the opinion that the government should stop meddling in private school affairs.
The AAP government had planned to set up 1,000 Mohalla Clinics by the end of 2017 to provide consultations, medicine, and tests free of cost to patients. In February 2017, it was reported that 110 such clinics were functional and had treated over 8 lakh patients in five months. The program was commended by former UN General Secretary Kofi Annan and former Prime Minister of Norway and Director-General of the World Health Organization, Gro Harlem Brundtland, as an excellent strategy for building a universal healthcare system.
In 2016, former Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung ordered a committee formed to examine alleged irregularities and cases of nepotism across Delhi State Government departments.
Other state wings
AAP has state wings in Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, and Manipur.
- An Insignificant Man, a 2017 Hindi/English Indian socio-political documentary co-produced and directed by Khushboo Ranka and Vinay Shukla and also co-produced by filmmaker Anand Gandhi. The documentary is about the rise of anti-corruption protests in India and the formation and rise to power of the Aam Aadmi Party.
Coalition with others
In the 2017 Punjab assembly election, the party formed a coalition with the Lok Insaaf Party and gave it five seats. However, in March 2018, the Lok Insaaf Party broke the coalition due to differences.
For the 2019 Indian general election, the AAP declared a coalition with the Jannayak Janata Party in Haryana. The JJP contested seven out of ten seats and the AAP contested the remaining three seats, though it failed to win any.
Notes and references
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