New Year brings hope to Agra's 'aam aadmi'

Agra, Jan 1 : The 'aam aadmi' in Agra region of Uttar Pradesh is showing signs of waking up from deep slumber, after the phenomenal success of the anti-corruption crusade that catapulted a "freak political outfit" to power in Delhi.

Desh Deepak Tiwari, a young activist, said Wednesday: "I remember Jan 30, 2011. We were just a handful of us, walking along MG Road with a banner of India Against Corruption. By the time we reached Shaheed Smarak to torch the Lokpal bill of the government, more than a hundred people joined us. At that point, we never thought the movement would snowball to this extent."

Today, the number of Aaam Aadmi Party activists in Agra has swollen to thousands. Many of them are less than 30 years old.

"A loose, vague outfit collectively described as 'civil society' has come into being. Most are active on social media, and their communication links are speedy and strong. Surely the infection is reaching smaller towns too like Mathura, Firozabad, Hathras and all the way to Noida, on the fringes of Delhi," said Shravan Kumar Singh.

Anand Rai, another activist, said: "It would be a huge mistake on the part of established political parties to make light of the new mood and change in political perception."

"The demand for water and power will reach a crescendo soon, and Akhilesh Yadav (chief minister of Uttar Pradesh) will have to respond unless he wants to invite trouble," he said.

Activists of the Aam Aadmi Party are meeting in groups. They say over 10,000 people have enlisted as members of the party in the Agra region.

"The Congress has little chance right now in western UP, but the BJP and the Samajwadi Party leaders are having sleepless nights. District leaders of the BJP fear a big dent in the vote bank of the party, while the response from the Samajwadi and the Bahujan Samaj Party remains confused and cynical. Voters, however, seem excited and determined to teach established parties a lesson," said child rights activist Naresh Paras.

Of the two Lok Sabha seats from Agra, one is held by the BSP and the other by the BJP.

"The fear among leaders is from the uncertainty arising from the passionate and determined participation of the youth in the electoral process. Even the higher classes and castes are going to vote this time, as was clear from the increased voting percentages in Delhi and other states. This renewed interest in politics could sound the death knell of conventional politics," activist Sudheir Gupta said.

Rajan Kishore, an activist, says the mood is much like 1977, when former prime minister Indira Gandhi was swept away in the anti-Emergency tsunami. "The myth that only moneyed people and caste leaders can win in politics has been shattered by Kejriwal," Kishore said.

--IANS (Posted on 01-01-2014)

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