What would you say when just one year old party makes a debut in politics, takes on two of the strongest national parties and comes close second only to form the government in the administrative capital of the nation. Yes! It is not a fairy tale; it has happened in India today. A civil rights activist and 2005 Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Arvind Kejriwal today took oath of Delhi Chief Minister after his party, founded less just a year back, formed the government in Delhi. The anti-corruption crusader who served Indian Revenue Service earlier left his additional commissioner’s job to raise the issue of Right to Information Act and won the battle when the RTI Act came into force in 2005, which later won him the Ramon Magsaysay Award (regarded as Asia’s Nobel prize) as well. In 2011, he joined Anna Hazare to raise the issue of Jan Lokpal Bill (Anti-Corruption Bill), such meticulous was his planning to garner support among masses and campaigning that the government had to call civil society group to bill drafting committee for the first time. However, the committee reached an impasse and Hazare and Kejriwal went on to protest two more times sitting on fast unto death to pass Jan Lokpal Bill, however, government refused to budge and dared them to enter into politics. Kejriwal and his confidantes formed a political party called Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man Party) with the symbol broom with the sole aim to clean politics. Even his mentor Anna Hazare distanced himself from the newly formed political party. Being a naturally gritty person Kejriwal decided to fight elections on all 70 seats in upcoming Delhi Assembly Elections and filed his nomination against Delhi Chief Minister of 15 years Sheila Dikshit, later to beat her by more than 20,000 votes. His party won 28 seats after withstanding a smear campaign by two national parties, a series of attacks on its member, which claimed one life, a sting operation and several FIRs and cases. AAP wave swept across Delhi and voters turned out in huge numbers to elect their representatives. All AAP representatives come from humble backgrounds and one candidate, Rakhi Birla who sworn in as a new minister today, lives in just 25 yards home. To add to that all candidates come with clean backgrounds and have no criminal cases pending against except for those filed just before elections and during protests. It is left to be seen how AAP fulfills its promises as its task is will cut out, and time is at premium. But the victory of AAP has rejuvenated Delhi’s common men with new vigour and a new found belief that politics can be clean, and they can finally breathe in a corruption free environment. –Abhishek Bhardwaj
A ship carrying wheat from the United States of America — enough to help feed more than 3.5 million Syrians for one month — has just delivered its cargo to the port of Beirut. The shipment is part of WFP’s massive emergency food assistance operation for Syrians forced to flee the conflict in their country. It’s the second ship to bring US wheat for WFP’s work in Syria in less than six months.