Indian media: Challenges for Common Man's Party

Arvind Kejriwal's party was born out of a strong anti-corruption movement that swept India two years ago
Image caption Arvind Kejriwal's party was born out of a strong anti-corruption movement that swept India two years ago

News of the forthcoming retirement of PM Manmohan Singh came too late for most newspapers in India, who have concentrated much of their coverage on the formation of the new Aam Admi Party (AAP) government in Delhi.

Most agree that the the AAP, or Common Man's Party, now has a challenging opportunity to build its image as a viable option in the upcoming general elections.

With support from the Congress party, the AAP secured 37 votes - one more than it needed in Thursday's confidence vote.

It won 28 of the 70 seats in the assembly polls last month and decided to govern Delhi after seeking a referendum on forming a government.

Arvind Kejriwal, a former civil servant, was sworn in as Delhi's chief minister at the Ramlila Ground on 28 December and subsequently won a vote of confidence in the state assembly.

"In effect, the AAP government probably has roughly six months to decorate its shop window, place its wares on the shelf and attract the right kind of audience in the 300-odd constituencies the party plans to contest across India," a Hindustan Times editorial says.

The Indian Express too feels the AAP is facing tough challenges.

"Delhi is the AAP's first heady success and its first foothold in power... But campaigning and governing have different impulses, and the AAP's challenge will also be to negotiate that line daily… It needs to demonstrate its capacity for responsible governance if it is to become a national option that is seen to be credible," it says.

The Hindi daily Dainik Jagran also says that the public has a lot of expectations from the AAP.

It says that the party has at least six months "to utilise its full potential and ensure that they win the confidence of the people".

The AAP government can be challenged in the assembly only when it convenes after six months.

Meanwhile, Mr Kejriwal will be moving into two big adjacent duplex houses in Delhi after he refused to live in a sprawling house traditionally used by Delhi's past chief ministers.

The papers say Mr Kejriwal's choice is nowhere near as grand as the previous chief minister's residence but "not quite the common man's house either", reports The Times of India.

The move is "likely to give a handle to the opposition, given his promise that he would live in a flat like a common man", the report says.

Meanwhile, Indian websites and TV channels are also giving wall-to-wall coverage to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's first news conference in three years.

Tiger population

In more news from Delhi, the police have decided to file "attempt to suicide cases" against those who try to end their lives "by jumping in front of running trains", the Hindustan Times reports.

"We do not want to increase their trauma but we want to take some kind of action to deter people from trying to end their lives at metro stations," a senior police source said.

More than 100 people have attempted suicide at different metro stations across Delhi and adjoining regions in the past two years, the report says.

Meanwhile, a youth from Muzaffarpur in the eastern state of Bihar threw boiling water on the face of a 15-year-old girl because she had "unfriended" him on Facebook, the Hindustan Times reports.

"Of late he had become abusive and so I 'unfriended' him last week," the girl said.

The police have launched a hunt for the absconding accused, the report adds.

Moving on to some news from Indian-administered Kashmir, the favourite pastime of making snowmen in the valley has become a rage online with hundreds of residents posting pictures on Facebook and Twitter, the Hindustan Times reports.

And finally, 2014 has brought some good news for the Panna Reserve in the central state of Madhya Pradesh as the tiger count in the park has reached 23 from zero in 2009, The Indian Express reports.

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