Sunday, December 8, 2013

Arvind Kejriwal's debut victory over INC reminds NTR's 1983 triumph

Source: NDTV | Edited by Deepshikha Ghosh | Updated: December 08, 2013 16:10 IST

Assembly election 2013: Arvind Kejriwal sweeps Sheila Dikshit right out of her constituency 

New Delhi: In  a mega political bender, rookie politician  Arvind Kejriwal has defeated three-time chief minister Sheila Dikshit in her constituency of New Delhi. (Mango man Arvind Kejriwal tastes sweet success)

The 44-year-old emerged after hours of meditation at his party office, wearing his trademark white Gandhi cap. "This is a victory of the shows India has won, democracy has won," he said to a huge crowd of supporters, all brandishing brooms, the symbol of his one-year-old Aam Aadmi party.

Voters mercilessly spurned Ms Dikshit and her party, permitting the incumbent Congress less than 10 of Delhi's 70 seats. The BJP has emerged as the single-largest party in the capital with 34 seats, one short of the half-way mark. If the results deliver a hung assembly for Delhi, Mr Kejriwal is emphatic that he will not align with either the Congress or the BJP. (All you wanted to know about Sheila Dikshit but didn't know who to ask) 

The symmetrical stellar performances of Mr Kejriwal and his AAP imputed a double take the Congress and the BJP, who repeatedly dismissed the new organization as an upstart throughout  the campaign for Delhi.

Ignoring those dismissals, an army of meticulously-organized volunteers spread Mr Kejriwal's message: that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) stands for anti-corruption, service and accountability in a country robbed of effective and clean governance.

The record 65.86% turnout  in Delhi is being attributed partly to an enthusiastic welcome for the AAP, formed after Mr Kejriwal split from his one-time partner Anna Hazare. In 2011, they invigorated middle class India with a movement demanding the Lopkal bill, the genesis for a new national ombudsman or Lokpal empowered to investigate charges of venality against elected representatives and bureaucrats.

But after a strong launch, the movement dissipated; Mr Kejriwal said he had no choice but to enter politics, a move Anna said he could not get behind.

NTR entered politics when he founded the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on 29 March 1982 in Hyderabad. He said that this decision was based on a historic need to rid Andhra Pradesh of the corrupt and inept rule of the Indian National Congress which had governed the state since its formation in 1956 and whose leadership had changed the Chief Minister five times in five years.[18] The popularity of NTR was such among the people of Andhra Pradesh that a jittery Congress decided to hold early elections in January 1983 instead of August 1983 as scheduled.

In the elections, the TDP allied with the Sanjaya Vichara Manch party and decided to field educated candidates who had a good name in the society and were not indulging in corruption, which was an innovative political concept at the time. NTR himself decided to contest from two assembly constituencies, Gudivada and Tirupati. NTR used many innovative ways of campaigning, such as being the first politician in India to use rath yatras for campaigning. For this, he used a modified Chevrolet van which he named as Chaitanya Ratham. In this van, NTR travelled across the state of Andhra Pradesh, crisscrossing all the districts. With his son Nandamuri Harikrishna, also a film actor, driving the van, NTR notched up over 75,000 kilometres during his campaign, a distinctive sight with the van's yellow party flags and banners and NTR sitting on top of the vehicle hailing the crowds. NTR campaigned for restoring the dignity of the Telugu people and advocated the forming a closer bond between the government and the common people, going into the elections with the slogan, Telugu Vari Atma Gauravam (lit. Telugu people's self-respect).

In the elections, the TDP won by an absolute majority, winning 199 out of the 294 seats in the state assembly, with NTR himself winning both the seats he contested. Their alliance with the Sanjaya Vichara Manch fetched 202 seats. NTR was sworn in as the 10th and the first non-Congress Chief Minister of the state on 9 January 1983 with ten cabinet ministers and five ministers of State.
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