The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which stormed into power in Delhi with an overwhelming majority in 2015, completes three years in power on Wednesday. People of Delhi saw the AAP as an alternative to mainstream parties and sent them to Delhi Assembly with an overwhelming majority.
The fact that Arvind Kejriwal had been a close aide of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and that the party had its origins in the India Against Corruption, gave AAP an image of being an 'honest' party keen to rid Indian politics of corruption. Most of the founding members were part of Team Anna, which demanded a strict anti-corruption legislation 'Jan Lokpal Bill. The movement had gained momentum during 2011 and 2012.
Hazare had wanted to keep the movement politically neutral but Kejriwal felt that direct involvement in politics was necessary. Kejriwal had support from some anti-corruption movement activists, such as Prashant Bhushan and Shanti Bhushan, but was opposed by others such as Kiran Bedi and Santosh Hegde.
Kejriwal had said that the AAP refuses to be guided by ideologies and that they are entering politics to change the system.
Ever since its inception, the AAP has been embroiled in controversies. From internal rifts to the expulsion of some of its founding members, the Arvind Kejriwal-led party has remained in the headlines.
The mandate it got in Delhi Assembly elections was a testimony to the fact that people actually saw AAP as a political alternative to the BJP and the Congress. Whether the AAP lived up to expectations or not is a different matter altogether, what is pertinent here is that Kejriwal really has had a hard time keeping his flock together.
In January 2014, legislator Vinod Kumar Binny was throw out of the party for allegedly indulging in anti-party activities.
Then in April 2015, Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, who were prominent leaders of the party, were shown the door for expressing unhappiness over the way the party was being run. This brought a lot of negative publicity to AAP and its convener Arvind Kejriwal as the expelled duo were not only the founding members of the party, but also eminent personalities in their own right.
In June 2015, AAP again locked horns with the Centre over the appointment of Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB)'s chief.
In April 2017, senior leader Kumar Vishwas released a video attacking Kejriwal for shielding a corrupt minister, leading to speculation that all is not well within the party. This was followed by MLA Amanatullah Khan accusing senior leader Vishwas of being a BJP agent. Khan was later suspended by the party.
Last year, Kejriwal sacked Delhi Water Resources minister Kapil Mishra, after which the latter launched a scathing attack on AAP. Mishra claimed that he had witnessed Kejriwal taking Rs 2 crores in cash from another Delhi Minister Satyendra Jain.
When the AAP announced the list of candidates it would nominate to Rajya Sabha, Kumar Vishwas minced no words to criticise AAP's top brass.
Just as the criticism over its Rajya Sabha picks began to settle down, Delhi's ruling party lpast month received a jolt with Election Commission of India recommending disqualification of 20 lawmakers for allegedly holding 'offices of profit'. AAP was quick to hit out at the EC, and said that it was acting at the behest of BJP-led Central government.