New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal today formally launched his "Aam Aadmi Party" at Delhi's Jantar Mantar, making a 3000-strong crowd chant a series of anti-graft and other vows that he said were at the core of his party.
"We vow that we will neither give nor accept bribes. We vow to get voter identity cards made and go and cast our vote. We vow to not take money, alcohol or any other form of bribe to cast our vote. And we vow not to cast our vote based on caste or religion," the activist-turned-politician said from the stage; the crowd solemnly repeated the vows after him. ."This party is result of our struggle against corruption," Mr Kejriwal said, his team and he repeatedly stressing that this was a "people's party." The acronym AAP means "you" in Hindi.
The former Anna Hazare aide had announced the name of his party on Saturday; today he also formally released the party's constitution, which disallows the relative of a party member in the state executive or national executive councils from getting a place on those bodies. It also promises financial transparency and says the party will publish its accounts and names of donors from time to time. Eminent lawyer Shanti Bhushan, who has been closely associated with Mr Kejriwal in his anti-corruption campaign, donated Rs 1 crore to the Aam Aadmi Party today.
The party has named 23 members to its national executive, including Manish Sisodia and lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who are close associates of Mr Kejriwal. Mr Kejriwal will be the national convenor, Pankaj Gupta the national secretary and Krishna Kanth the national treasurer, it was announced.
India Against Corruption member Kumar Vishwas said 200 offices had been opened already. "It's an Aam Aadmi party... they (the aam aadmi) will run it," Mr Vishwas said, adding, with a smile, "The donations are coming to our party account and people are giving cheques, so they (other parties) need not to worry." he quipped.
The party's official website is www.aamaadmiparty.org, and accounts have been set up on social networking sites like Facebook (aamaadmiparty) and Twitter (@aamaadmiparty) to share information about the party and its functions.
Mr Kejriwal chose to launch his party on November 26 as the Constitution of India was adopted on this day in 1949.
The activist-turned-politician had said on Sunday that he would "go to every village and town in the country for the next one year to convince people against the vote-bank politics of the Congress and the BJP". Both parties, he claimed, "used people only for votes".
Arvind Kejriwal was a key member of Gandhian Anna Hazare's anti-corruption squad of activists, but the two fell out this year primarily over the decision to join politics.