Aam Aadmi Party's journey began six years ago on this very day
The Aam Admi Party (AAP) that heads the Delhi government has turned six on Monday. But the young party has enjoys a rare distinction of forming the government twice in the national capital since its inception. It might not have succeeded in expanding its reach to other parts of the country in any significant way, but it remains a force to reckon with in Delhi.
The party had an unusual birth. The leader of the party and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was among those who were at the forefront of an anti-corruption movement during the fag- end of the UPA- II Government led by the Congress.
With a slew of corruption charges plaguing the Government, the anti-corruption movement gained traction. The demand for setting up a Jan Lokpal, a constitutional and truly autonomous body to probe corruption charges had found many takers among the ordinary people who supported the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare in which Mr Kejriwal played an important face.
Nurturing political ambition, Mr Kejriwal subsequently split with Anna Hazare and floated a political party.
The 2013 Assembly elections in Delhi was the first major test for the AAP. The party's performance was well beyond what was expected of a newcomer. Arvind Kejriwal was able to form the government with outside support of the Congress, dashing the hopes of the BJP that had emerged as the single largest party winning 31 of 70 seats. Mr Kejriwal took oath as 7th Chief Minister of Delhi on December 28, 2013.
But the government didn't last long. Mr Kejriwal resigned from the post of Chief Minister after 49 days, blaming the Congress for not being able to pass the Lok Pal Bill in Delhi Assembly. The gamble paid off. The AAP won a historic mandate, winning 67 of 70 seats in the 2015 Assembly election.
However, all was not well within Aam Admi Party since the landslide victory. Two founding members of the party, activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were expelled from the party for "violation of code of conduct of the party" in April 2015
"The kangaroo trials, expulsions, witch-hunts, character assassination, rumour campaigns and emotional theatre to justify such macabre acts – all this is so true of the Stalinist regime," Mr Yadav had said.
The year 2015 didn't prove to be too good for the AAP electorally. Contrary to its calculation, the party failed to form government in Punjab. It had also failed to make inroads in the elections held in Goa in 2017. Mr Kejriwal had constant turf wars with then Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and the BJP-led Union Government. Anil Baijal replacing Mr Jung as the Lieutenant Governor didn't change the situation much.
The AAP leadership maintained the Lieutenant Governor at the behest of Union Government worked against its interest.
In July the Supreme Court ruled that the Lieutenant Governor (LG) has no "independent decision-making power" and he has to work on "the aid and advice of the Cabinet." The Kejriwal- Government hailed the judgment as a "big victory for Delhi and democracy."
"Aam Aadmi Party's journey began six years ago on this very day. This political revolution is moving forward to rid the nation of corruption, communalism, and casteism, with the support of lakhs of workers and well-wishers who have worked selflessly," Mr Kejiriwal tweeted today. His government surely has its hits and misses.
One of the widely praised initiatives of the AAP government has been the mohalla clinics, or the neighbourhood primary health centres. Its work in education sector such as upgrading the public schools, strict guidelines to private schools to regulate the fees had won the praise of the people. The AAP, however, has also shown many tendencies that are prone to political parties such as internal dissension.