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Grassroots workers want Aam Aadmi Party government, but wary of Congress

Sunday, 22 December 2013 - 3:34pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: IANS

They are the faceless and unsung heroes of the Aam Adami Party (AAP). Today, these tens and thousands of volunteers, who were the backbone of the entire election campaign, want the party that created political ripples in just a short span of time to form the government in Delhi but are wary of the Congress.

After AAP indicated it would form the government by taking outside support from the Congress, many of AAP's selfless volunteers who worked at the grassroots level expressed apprehension about it being a "marriage of convenience".

"We cannot trust the Congress as it called AAP the B team of BJP. I would rather want a minority government," said Arun Verma, 19, who had campaigned on cycle rickshaws fitted with loudspeakers and ceaselessly distributed pamphlets in east Delhi in the run up to the Dec 4 elections that threw up a fractured verdict.

But the party, which gave a drubbing to India's grand old party, the Congress, and stopped the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from forming the government, is all set to rule the roost in Delhi.

AAP, which emerged as the second largest political grouping in the Delhi elections with 28 seats in the 70-member assembly, is soliciting public opinion to form the government with Congress support. It will announce its decision on Monday.

The Congress has announced that its eight legislators will give outside support to AAP.

A student of Bachelor of Arts from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Arun Verma has been working in the AAP's Hanuman Road office ever since it was opened in Aug 2013. Says Verma: "Even if AAP is not able to fulfill all the poll promises and is able to provide basic needs to the people I will be happy."

He thinks the Congress will pull the plug at a crucial time when the party is pushing for implementing some of the main issues on its agenda.

In its manifesto, AAP promised 700 liters of free water and 50 percent reduction in power bills, which many critics have termed an impossible task.

Pardeep Singh, who left his family of four and his key-making profession to work for AAP, also finds Congress support "tricky."

"Arvind-ji (Arvind Kejriwal) understands the conspiracy of Congress but we will have to take the risk. If we are able to do it then the Congress plan of 'exposing' us will boomerang," Singh said.

Singh, who took a loan of Rs.20,000 to survive for three months as he was the sole breadwinner of his family, in order to engage actively with AAP, said aligning with the Congress was like a "marriage of convenience."

"We have to form the government. People voted for us. We have to show to the people that a clean, corrupt free government can work and do wonders."

Asked whether he has ever met Kejriwal, who appears poised to be Delhi's next chief minister, he said: "I just want five minutes (with him). But even if I am not able to meet him it doesn't matter. I will continue to work for the party."

Jitender, who had come all the way from Madhya Pradesh to work for AAP, said that by forming the government the party would be able to implement its "ambitious plans".

"There will always be an issue with the Congress party. It is a cunning party. We will have to be alert," Jitender told IANS on phone.

"But this is our chance to fulfill the promises we have made. We should form the government. Didn't we show it with the poll results! We will do it again," he added.

Another volunteer, who did not want to be identified, said: "As long as AAP delivers I have no problem. But I fear that Congress might corrupt AAP. I hope my fears never come true."


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