49 digital days of Aam Aadmi Party

The man and the party which claimed to go against all odds to bring down the stronghold of corruption in the country, by chanting the motto ‘Main hu aam aadmi’ (I am a common man) has now stepped down from the seat of power. Arvind Kejriwal, 7th Chief Minister of Delhi, has resigned from his position as his Jan Lokpal Bill was blocked from being tabled in the Assembly.

Aam Aadmi Party made several promises to people, on one side AAP received great support, and on the other these claims were criticised as they sounded unrealistic. This move by their leader, is again raising mixed views on whether his decision was apt or is he now shying from his responsibilities. Whatever the case maybe, one thing that he is known for is directly reaching out to the commoners in the country, be it a real-life strike or posting updates on social media. After NaMo he is probably the most social-savvy political leader in India.

Here is a quick overview of online activity of Kejriwal and Aam Aadmi Party.

If with 9.3 million fans on Facebook, Narendra Modi is leading the social media campaign in India, Arvind Kejriwal is the second most liked person on the social portal. However, as shown in the figure below, BJP and NaMo’s social influence is still way stronger than other politicians or political parties, yet it didn’t manage to completely sway the general public in NCT, in its favour.

The above infographic shows the increase in Arvind Kejriwal’s fans on Facebook, clearly the number has doubled since 28th December, i.e. the day he officially joined the office. Aam Aadmi Party’s fan page saw an increment too, however not to the extent of Kejriwal’s did.

In addition to Facebook followers, the Google searches for both Kejriwal and AAP drastically increased around the time of elections and appointment in December 2013.

 

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Before the State Assembly Elections: AAP will not join hands with Congress or BJP

 

Before the elections, Aam Aadmi Party clearly indicated that under no condition will it collaborate with either BJP or Congress. It believed that both the parties were equally corrupt, and it shall not have any alliance with them.

Goes against its statement, forms alliance with Congress and takes oath

Neither of the three parties in discussion were able to sway a majority in their favour in the Delhi State Elections, ultimately AAP joined hands with Congress itself. Thus going against the statement it made earlier. Kejriwal sworn his oath to act as the CM of Delhi on 28th December.However when

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While the city anticipated the much awaited decision on the on-going debate on getting clean and inexpensive water, their leader tweeted about being under the weather and having diarrhea, thus missing the first day of work. This wasn’t the only instance when the youngest Chief Minister of Delhi took a step back from his commitments due to ill-health. Once earlier in December, high fever prevented him from meeting Anna in a much-discussed appointment in Ralegan.

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Like all ministers from a ruling party, even AAP leaders got accommodation and vehicles, but that did not seem so normal to the public, opposition and the media. This was because the party, throughout their campaign talked about being different from other politicians, about how they wouldn’t take up the ‘luxuries’ that came up with their job. And continuing his trend of addressing the people directly, Delhi’s ex-Chief Minister came out with a brigade of posts on Twitter, which his supporters found valid reasons for his actions.

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All these posts saw hundreds of re-tweets, and many replies in the support. At the same time people from the media continued questioning his claims. Journalist and Padma Shri awardee, Sucheta Dalal is among the latter lot, who continued looking for the motive behind his actions.

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Sticking to his word of making his actions for the people, Kejriwal announced and opened a public grievance redressal cell. The move was welcomed uniformly by the public.  

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Even though the Mango Man re-tweets more than he tweets, strong incidences make him come out to his followers online, to update them with his side of the story. The string of tweets above were after five police personnel who AAP leaders say did not cooperate with them.  Arvind launched a ‘Dharna’ after this to demand control over Delhi Police and to fight for women safety.

1 month as the people’s man

In the image above, Arvind Kejriwal has casually re-tweeted a cartoon parody of himself. He did a similar tweet a couple of days back, when a group posted a funny video with an actor mimicking Kejriwal, this was post his resignation.

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Arvind Kejriwal seemed very positive about the approval of Jan Lokpal Bill he had been fighting for, since the last couple of years. He did not shy away from sharing its details with the commoners through his Facebook fan page. However, on seeing the resistance his motion was facing from the Government, he announced across social forums that he’ll quit his position if the bill didn’t pass

 

 The final blow

After anti-corruption Jan Lokpal Bill was blocked in the state legislature by law-makers from the Congress and the BJP yesterday, the aam aadmi decided to stick to his word and gave his resignation. His Facebook page, which he appears to be running himself, openly criticises Congress, BJP and Mukesh Ambani for this failure.

Even though INC and BJP haven’t been actively responding to these allegations. Many other people are showing resentment at the ex-CM’s behaviour.

It is not for a single person to decide whether this decision was just or abrupt. On the web, conflicting views and posts with #Arvindkejriwal are flooding different forums. At the same time it is clear that social media in India has evolved into something much more than a networking platform, it has also become a voice for leaders and the common men.

To contact the author, write to sugandh@iamwire.com

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