Identifying themselves with common citizens, anti-corruption activist Arvind Kejriwal and his team on Saturday christened their political party “Aam Aadmi Party” (AAP) and adopted a constitution that focuses on the ideology of decentralised democracy. “Youth and women will play important role in the party,” Mr. Kejriwal told supporters after the party name was adopted at a meeting of the newly formed National Council.
The name will be adopted at a public meeting on Monday at Jantar Mantar here.
The party has already applied for registration with the Election Commission which will allot a symbol to it.
He said the name India Against Corruption (IAC) would no longer be used by them.
Stung by the choice of the name that strikes at the Congress’ core slogan — Congress ka haath aam aadmi ke saath (Congress is with the common man) — Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the term aam aadmi had been synonymous with the Indian National Congress since 1885. Nobody could hijack the intrinsic relationship between the Congress and the aam aadmi.
Responding to it, AAP member Sanjay Singh said the Congress had never been with the aam aadmi. “It has been with the likes of Robert Vadra, Ambanis, A. Raja and Kalmadi.”
The name, Aam Aadmi Party, was proposed by Mr. Kejriwal himself and adopted unanimously at the council meeting attended by 300 members. The constitution of the party was also adopted. The council elected a 23-member National Executive which has eight vacancies and can co-opt five more members.
Among the National Executive members are Mr. Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan, Anand Kumar, Yogendra Yadav, Christina Samy, Shazia Ilmi, Illiyas Azmi, Habung Peyand, Prem Singh Pahadi, Manish Sisodia, Mr. Sanjay Singh, Gopal Rai and Mayank Gandhi.
Questions were raised about lack of representation from the South, to which Mr. Kejriwal said they were looking for the right people. He admitted that the number of women too was lower than what they had hoped for.
Asked if the AAP would contest all 545 Lok Sabha seats and give women 33 per cent representation, Mr. Kejriwal said the party would contest all seats. “But if there is an election tomorrow, we may not have candidates to contest all seats. As for women, we have said that one of the two conveners will be a woman at all levels from college, to village to block, district and upwards.” An ‘ordinary member’ would have no voting rights until he/she was made an active member after four months of working for the party.
The party would contest the Delhi Assembly elections next year.
The council decided that the gram sabha would be taken as the unit for development and mohalla panels in cities would decide about their development needs. They might exercise the “right to recall” candidates who did not deliver. Getting justice from judiciary would be a “right” and people would have the power to move an ‘initiative’ on any law they require or a ‘referendum’ on any legislation they want to be revised.
Mr. Bhushan said the party would work for bringing about a systemic change in politics. Psephologist Yogendra Yadav described the birth of the AAP as a result of a “spontaneous upsurge of masses.”
“The party will shun dynastic politics and have provisions against more than one member of a family holding office during one term,” Mr. Kejriwal said. “