As it happened: Kejriwal plunges into politics, makes demands and promises exposé

Oct 2, 2012

3:45 pm: Kejriwal promises to expose corrupt activities of two big political leaders

"On 6 October we will expose corrupt activities carried out by two very prominent leaders of the nation," he said

He said that after that, their teams across states would begin exposing how opposition and parties in power were indulging in corruption.

"Some people are saying Arvind Kejriwal is opportunistic...I am opportunistic because we want to change the nation," he said.

And we're back to the 'you're with us or against us' argument. Kejriwal said that people have to decide whether they want to back the agitation or not. "If you are just watching for home then you are with the politicians," he said.

Don't try touching his feet also. Kejriwal said its what Congress and BJP leaders do, it has no place in his party.

He also launched a frontal attack on the Congress saying that the aam aadmi is no longer with them, but with the new political party.

The party's name was to be announced today but because of procedural delays they were unable to, and will do so on 26 November instead, Kejriwal said.

Unfortunately he chooses to end his powerful speech with a song again. That perhaps he could do without.

3:30 pm: Kejriwal demands rollback in electricity and water rates in Delhi, promises to protest

"If Rabri Devi could become CM of Bihar then society is free to make its own laws," he said. Don't know if the former chief minister's listening to him but if she is it's unlikely she'll be too pleased.

Kejriwal says that they will are already preparing a new system of administration which will be put in place instantly if they win the Delhi elections in 2013.

Kejriwal says it is not a political party but an agitation.

"This agitation will continue for some time to come...earlier we fasted, protested and did many things and now we will make laws," he said.

If we come to power we will reduce electricity and water rates, the anti-corruption activist said.

He accused Tata Power and Reliance Energy for making profits through electricity generation and said the CAG should audit the two organisations.

"After the report of the CAG a decision should be taken on whether to raise water and electricity rates," Kejriwal said.

He also had harsh words for Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for raising the rates and says it hits the poor the most.

Kejriwal said that if the rates are not reduced by 3 November then they would protest outside the Chief Minister's residence the next day. They're also planning to burn the existing electricity bills, he said.

"I and our entire team are willing to go to jail...if you have the guts put us in jail," he said.

3:20 pm: Kejriwal promises to change governance system, won't be only about Lokpal

"The party is not only to do with the formation of the Lokpal....We need to create the system so that no matter who is in power they cannot indulge in corruption. If you don't change the system quickly enough then the system may corrupt you," he said.

If changes are not brought about quickly then people could be corrupted in 10 to 15 days, he said, adding that he had learnt about this during his tenure in the Income Tax department.

"We will put a system in place so that people can control the system and not the other way around," Kejriwal said.

He's pretty opposed to the fact that India hosted Commonwealth Games and said the expenditure on it could have offset some of the government's subsidy bill for LPG cylinders meant for cooking.

3:10pm: Kejriwal says his party will be the sole political opposition in the nation

Kejriwal says that his party is the only political Opposition there is left in the country given that the two major parties are in collusion with each other. He said his children would not forgive him if he backed out of fighting corruption now.

"Now everyone says that when you are joining politics that you are hungry for power. At one time people said that if you are contesting elections you are working for the nation but now they say you are hungry for power. This is because of politicians," he said.

He also mentioned the association with Anna Hazare and the past successful rallies in the past and says it is the movement that resulted in people wanting a change from corruption in the nation.

"This is not my party. It is a party of the people....20,000 people have sent their views on the formation of the party, which is not a small number," he said

When government wanted to form Lokpal they wanted suggestions from people and even at that time they didn't get as many responses, he said.

3:00 pm: Kejriwal sings, says party belongs to the people

Arvind Kejriwal has the passion, vigour and even the sincerity but its not certain his followers appreciate his singing skills.

After declaring that the party would belong to the people, Kejriwal launches into a song that gets far less applause than his speech.

Then thankfully he gets back to what he's good at. Speaking.

"We declare from this platform that we will fight elections. We announce that common people are going to be part of electoral politics. All you corrupt leaders should watch out," he said.

"We don't know politics or manipulations, but have been forced into politics due to the corrupt acts by politicians," he said.

"We had no alternative but to jump into politics. We have begged too much of you, now we will no longer ask," Kejriwal said.

Many asked us to delay our decision but everything is being sold off in the country, Kejriwal said,"If we had delayed our decision then India wouldn't survive. Now the politicians are all together. In Coalgate and the irrigation scam in Maharashtra the political parties have all come together to indulge in corruption."

2:30 pm: Full text of Arvind Kejriwal's draft vision statement

IAC Vision Document of the Upcoming Party

1:40 pm: Shanti Bhushan says today's event reminds him of Independence movement

"This event remainds me of the Independence movement. 2 October, 2012 will be remembered as a historic day in India's history," eminent jurist Shanti Bhushan said while launching the draft vision document.

Pointing out that former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, who shares his birthday with Mahatma Gandhi, never won elections using money, Bhushan said that if they won the confidence of the people, you don't need money to fight and win elections.

"Politics is the necessity of democracy. Leaders of political parties have made politics dirty. There was a time when politics was considered sacred. We have to create the same atmosphere again," he said.

1:30 pm:Kejriwal releases draft vision document for political party

The draft vision document of the party that Arvind Kejriwal plans to head has been released.

According to Firstpost's Danish Raza the anti-corruption activist and his supporters plan to receive more inputs from people and release the final document on 26 November.

So what does the document speak of? Power to people, fighting corruption, inflation, illegal land acquisition, education, right to reject and right to recall elected representatives are what catch the eye immediately. Greater details should be available soon.

1.00 pm: Manish Sisodia confirms Arvind Kejriwal's party name to be announced on 26 November

While Arvind Kejriwal will announce the formation of a new political party today, its name will be announced next month, his key associate Manish Sisodia has said.

Sisodia said while the formation of the political outfit will be announced later in the day today, its name will be announced on 26 November.

Kejriwal too has hinted a delay in announcing the name when he said that it will done after discussions.
"The movement which fought for a Jan Lokpal will now contest elections," Sisodia said, adding that November 26 was decided as the date for naming the party as the Constituent Assembly had adopted the Constitution on that day in 1949.

He alleged that rumours were being spread that no announcement will be made regarding formation of a political part.

12:50 pm: No launch of party, only mission statement today?

CNN IBN reports that the party won't be launched today and it will only be a mission statement, which may be in the form of several drafts, that will be released along with a set of criteria that will be used to choose candidates.

The channel reports that the actual launch of the party will take place only on 26 November.

12:35 pm: Former Team Anna member Kumar Vishwas says he won't join party but will campaign

Kumar Vishwas, one of the spokepersons for the erstwhile Team Anna has also said he will not be in Arvind Kejriwal's party.

Vishwas has told CNN IBN that he will support and campaign for the political party that is to be formed.

"Someone asked me if I will campaign for the party, I will support the political party and campaign for it," he was reported as saying.

Vishwas said he would campaign but won't join the party.

Even noted psephologist Yogendra Yadav, has pointed out that without Anna Hazare behind him, Kejriwal may find it hard to build trust among prospective voters. (Watch what he said here)

So do you think Kejriwal is doomed to failure without Anna? Check out our debate on the issue.

11.51 am:  Kejriwal party launch looks a bit like a cultural show

Firstpost reporter Danish Raza who is at the Constitution club says that the Kejriwal event is looking a bit like a cultural show, with poems, slogans, bhajans and more. Grassroot workers are also taking the stage to speak one by one. We're all waiting for the real event to begin.

11.15 am: Vision document of new party to be released by noon

The vision document of the new party will be released between 12 and 12.30pm, says Firstpost reporter Danish Raza who is at the Constitution club in Delhi where Kejriwal is launching his political party. Around 500 people are present for the event.

Meanwhile IAC member Yogendra Yadav admitted that Anna Hazare's attitude to the political party was a 'huge setback' for the group, because he would have been vital in winning the trust of the people. He welcomed the 'more nuanced tone' of Anna's speech yesterday, saying that his opposition earlier had made the task of the political party more difficult.

10.34 am: Kejriwal on stage, minutes away from big announcement

We are literally minutes away from the announcement. Kejriwal is on the stage, which is sporting a massive backdrop featuring Mahatma Gandhi, and is accompanied by a number of members from the now disbanded Team Anna including Shanti and Prashant Bhushan, Manish Sisodia and Yogendra Yadav. Gopal Rai is due to arrive there soon.

10.20 am: Kejriwal to 'soft launch' political party?

Speaking to media minutes before his big announcement, Kejriwal said that today was a big day for all the people of the country who are tired of the existing political framework of the country, because they  were finally getting an alternative.

"As you can see all the people here are not workers, they are ordinary citizens. You can see the excitement. They are coming together to form this party to change the politics of the country", he said.

Meanwhile the latest reports coming in from the venue indicate that today will not be the much expected 'official launch' of the party, and will be a 'soft launch' instead. So instead of announcing a name and framework on which the party will operate, Kejriwal is expected to make an appeal to the people to give him their thoughts on how to take the party forward.

10.08 am: Kejriwal at constitution club sporting 'I am aam aadmi' Gandhi cap

Kejriwal has reached the constitution club in Delhi surrounded by his supporters who are showering him with flowers. A smiling Kejriwal is wearing the Gandhi cap that was made fashionable during the height of the Lokpal movement, but instead of the now familiar 'I am Anna' slogan, his cap reads, 'I am aam aadmi'. Nice 'we the people' touch happening!

10.00 am: Kejriwal to transition from activist to politician?

Twelve days after his split with Anna Hazare, activist Arvind Kejriwal will formally enter politics with the announcement of a political party on Tuesday.

Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia said the announcement will be made at a function in the Constitution Club in New Delhi on Tuesday

The vision of the party, Constitution and selection of members and candidates will be stated at the function, coinciding with Gandhi Jayanthi.

An internal Lokpal will also be appointed by the party to probe cases of impropriety. The name of the internal Lokpal, a retired judge, will also be announced on Tuesday.

PTI

Kejriwal earlier said they were not entering politics to acquire power as politics is yet another tool for strengthening of the anti-graft movement.

The proposed party is likely to first test its strength in Delhi Assembly polls in 2013, skipping Assembly elections of 2012 in BJP-ruled Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

Earlier, the Kejriwal-led group had decided to form a preparatory committee consisting of 80-100 members, including some retired judges, to chalk out the details of the formation of the party.

It was also decided that an internal Lokpal, with retired judges as its members, would be constituted to ensure internal discipline within the party. The preparatory committee, however, was not formed despite the plan of having its first meeting on 26 August.

Kejriwal and Sisodia who parted ways with Anna because of the decision to go political, sought the activist yesterday, paying him a surprise visit in New Delhi while he was in a meeting with ex-servicemen and bureaucrats to chalk out the future of his anti-graft movement.

The trio spent around twenty minutes together, and later Hazare in a visible softening of his stand, called Kejriwal and honest and unselfish man. He added that he would have no problem supporting Kejriwal as a candidate because he knew him to be a honest man.

With inputs from PTI

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