ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Being the Change

The Aam Aadmi Party and the Politics of the Extraordinary in Indian Democracy

Exploring the contexts and consequences of the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party, a new anti-establishment political party that has garnered significant social and political support in its initial foray into the electoral arena, this article examines the central dimension of party existence, namely, the processes of party-building or the ways in which rank-and-file party workers are recruited, mobilised, motivated and variously put to work. It draws upon three months of research and visual documentation of AAP's party-building efforts in three of the 70 Delhi constituencies where it fielded candidates for its electoral debut in 2013.

This article draws on an ongoing collaborative research and visual documentation project on the rise of AAP undertaken along with Lalit Vachani (and his film team) and Devanjan Khuntia, hence the interchangeable use of the first and second person pronoun in the essay. Preparatory research on “Indian democracy and the politics of anti-politics” was conducted in collaboration with Lisa Björkman in 2013. Thanks to Crysothea Bassia for research assistance, and to Lisa Björkman, Uday Chandra, Lalit Vachani, and Rupa Viswanath for their comments on an earlier version.

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