Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday finally picked a name for the andolan-turned-party. Keeping with Kejriwal's characteristic directness, the party has been named the Aam Admi Party (AAP). The name is significant as it is a direct dig at the Congress. “Congress has hijacked the term aam admi, but unfortunately it couldn't hijack him,” said Kejriwal, adding that the phrase has come to mean a a sense of empowerment ever since Kejriwal and his party started using it.
Kejriwal said the party's aim would be to establish swaraj in the country and encourage direct democracy and decentralisation. He stressed that AAP wants to give maximum representation to women and the youth, and is firmly against family politics. Two members of one family cannot be a part of the party's executive at the same time and no two family members would get a ticket to contest elections. For women's participation, one out of the two conveners at every primary unit would have to be a woman. The primary units would be at village, ward and college levels.
AAP will have two types of members, Ordinary and Active. Any citizen above 18 years of age can become an Ordinary member upon a payment of Rs10 as fees. Active members would be selected from Ordinary members by the existing active members at the village and mohalla levels. To emphasise its difference from other parties, AAP has the right to recall internal Lokpal and Lokayukta and will make all its accounts transparent by posting them on their website. The party's vision document also endorses the idea of referendum while making laws in the assembly, though Kejriwal said that some issues like foreign policy and external security cannot be decided on the basis of citizen opinion.
These decisions were taken at the first meeting of AAP's National Council, which was attended by approximately 300 people. The council elected its 23-member National Executive, which includes those who have been associated with the andolan. Apart from key members like Kejriwal, Prashant Bhushan and others, it includes Yogendra Yadav, Mayank Gandhi, Illiyas Azmi, Shazia Ilmi and Professor Anand Kumar. More names may be added in the coming days.
Since AAP is a party without an ideological thrust, Yadav explained there would be 30-odd subjects on which they would invite different expert reports and then decide what stand to take. “Too many people are to sure of what their position is,” said Yadav. “Our aim would be dialogue and formation of new kinds of policies.”
The party will apply for its name to be registered with the Election Commission on Monday. Kejriwal also invited all those who would like to be founder members of the Aam Admi Party to congregate at Jantar Mantar on Monday for the formal launch. “Everyone who comes there would be a founder member,” he said.