Business Standard

AAP launched amid heavy rush for membership

Calls it a party of the common people who would now become leaders, policy makers and throw out the politicians

Arvind today formally launched the Aam Aadmi Party, callling it a party of the who would now become leaders and policy makers and throw out the politicians.

With the creation of the new party, now leaders would be pitted against the common man and all other parties would find themselves contesting with people, Kejriwal said.

"People would now no longer have to plead to reduce prices. They would themselves do it once they win elections and sit in Parliament,'', he said, adding that prices were linked with corruption. He added that the government which waived Rs 5 lakh crore of corporate taxes took Rs 2 lakh crores of taxes from petrol and diesel consumers.

"If you were in power which tax would you waive? he asked. It would take just five minutes for the government to bring down prices. But they dont do it because they are in collusion with industrialists like Mukesh Ambani," he told cheering crowds.

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Kejriwal said that the LPG cylinders were in shortage and are going to cost Rs 1,200 only because the government is planning to increase the price of the gas that Ambani's Reliance Industries Limited supplies from the gas wells in Kaveri basin.

He said that once the AAP came to power, it would bring the Lok Pal Bill in 15 days and put corrupt ministers and politicians behind bars within six months.

He said the reason why the party was being formed was not to grab power, but to hand over power to the people. "We are not going to allocate coal blocks or 2G spectrum, but change the system and the way these are done," Kejriwal said at the end of a daylong rally held to mark the launch of the AAP.

The rally saw a heavy rush for membership, with each fresh supply of forms leading to mini stampedes at the venue on Parliament Street here. About 15,000 forms were sold by evening with people asking for more.

At some places, forms began to be sold in black, thanks to the enthusiasm of the people coming from various states to become members on the first day itself.

This enthusiasm was because of the assurance given by Arvind Kejriwal last week that all those who became members today would be counted  as founding members. The rush prompted Kejriwal to extend this deadline for consideration as founding members to the end of this week.

The parliament street where the function took place was packed with people from end to end, and the crowds comprised many newcomers to the anti-corruption rallies who made it only for the purpose of becoming founding members of the party.

Among those falling over each other to get a form for membership was  a young resident doctor from a Government hospital in Delhi, a young man who was preparing for his IAS entrance exams, another a lecturer in a college in Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan who had come here all the way to become a member today of what he said the party that would change everything for the better.

The first day itself the party got  offices opened in 300 districts, all by volunteers. Funds also started pouring in. The party collected close to Rs 1.6 lakh from participants and bystanders    by the end of the day besides bigger amounts of a crore rupees from Shanti Bhushan and of Rs 99,000 from another donor.

Launching the party, Kejriwal who was appointed national convenor earlier said that an AAP Government would definitely be made.  But he said that the objective of the party was not to win power or elections but to change the system and demolish all power centres and transfer power to the people.

The crowds held many followers of Ramdev and there were many others from the Anna Hazare movement. "Anna and Arvind are all one'', said one in explanation. But the first  rally of the party that also was a test of the strength of Kejriwal team minus Anna Hazare seemed to have stood the test well, with Kejriwal complaining that forms were being sold in black.
 
The rally also declared Admiral Ramdas and Justice Bhagwati Prasad Sharma as the party's internal Lokpal.

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