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The outcome of Delhi Assembly elections heralds the arrival of a new force in Indian politics. It reaffirms the widely felt disenchantment and disgust with the ruling UPA regime. The decimation of the ruling Congress party shows beyond doubt that there is yearning for change. Yet the inability of the BJP to secure a majority shows that the voters who want change are not satisfied with a mere substitute. The spectacular debut of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) demonstrates that the aam aadmi of India is willing to trust alternative politics.

AAP’s performance in the Delhi elections is by far the most spectacular political debut in the last three decades. This barely one year old political party has achieved this amazing feat in the face of the collective might of the two big parties evident in their money and muscle power and slander campaign launched by vested interests and supported by a section of the media. But for this concerted campaign, AAP could well have obtained a clear majority in Delhi assembly. Its final tally thus under-estimates the extent of popular support for the party.

Aam Aadmi Party’s success goes beyond the simple count of votes and seats. The real significance of the rise of AAP lies in the challenge that it has posed to the established ways of the politics. With its roots in the most extraordinary anti-corruption movement of this country, AAP has turned this into a battle against the corrupt political system. It offered a systemic alternative by way of radical political decentralisation. AAP’s election campaign set a model for financial and political transparency. For the first time in the history of the country a political party collected “white money” for politics, made full disclosure of all donations received, met the target that it had set and refused to take any more donations. Perhaps for the first time, a political party withdrew support to its official candidate purely on moral grounds, as the AAP did in Rajouri Garden. For the first time, a political party issued manifestos for every single constituency. AAP broke away from the politics of caste and community vote banks and revived the culture of door to door canvassing. The record turnout in this assembly election and the popular support for a new political outfit bears ample testimony to the public response to this new political begining.

The credit for this extraordinary feat must rest with thousands of volunteers who worked tirelessly in this campaign. In sharp contrast to the dominant culture of paid workers, these volunteers from within and outside Delhi and indeed, Indians residing outside the country sacrificed their career and comfort in the service of this larger cause. Their dedication and idealism brought back the voluntary spirit of politics. AAP salutes the spirit of these volunteers.

This historic vote places enormous responsibility on the AAP. We wish to assure the citizens of Delhi that AAP shall not take part in any political wheeling-dealing that might ensue following this “hung verdict”. We have made a solemn promise to the voters of Delhi that we shall neither seek nor offer support to any part of the corrupt political establishment of the country. We wish to reiterate that the Delhi election is only the first step in our political journey. We are here to challenge the political establishment throughout the country. Our next mission would be to offer a genuine political alternative in the Lok Sabha elections 2014.

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