Tuesday, Jul 05, 2022
Season For Mangoes

AAP: The Anti-corruption Zealots On The March

AAP's recent victory in Punjab and its strong performance in Delhi over three assembly elections show it's ready to fill in as a serious national-level challenger to BJP.

Photograph: Getty Images

Himanshu Pandit was 19 years old when he was lathicharged for protesting outside Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s house, and later detained by cops. It was August 2012 and his Class XII pre-­boards were due soon. But something came up that changed his plans forever. A nondescript man without any political clout had given a call for a new, corruption-free India. “Needless to say, like thousands of other students and aspirational youths of the time, I got inspired,” Pandit says.

Soon, Arvind Kejriwal arrived in Bhopal to sit on a hunger strike and court arrest. “His perso­n­a­lity and dedication struck a chord. Here was a leader who was not afraid to get arrested or lathi­charged like us,” Pandit adds. Now 29, he has been working with Kejriwal ever sin­ce, fir­st as part of the India Against Corruption (IAC) team, then as a cadre of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).