Indian media: Will AAP make a national impact?

AAP wants to gain nationwide support Image copyright AFP
Image caption AAP wants to gain nationwide support

Media are weighing the chances of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) making a lasting impact on the national political scene in India and are reporting on its initiative to contest elections against politicians it accuses of corruption.

Following its recent "corrupt list" targeting national politicians, the party has said it will also release a list of leaders at the state level with "corrupt, criminal or dynastic backgrounds" and field candidates against them in the general elections expected to be held in April or May.

The AAP was born out of an anti-corruption movement and now heads the government in Delhi after a surprisingly strong showing at the assembly elections in December.

The Times of India is not impressed with AAP's singular focus. The paper warns in an editorial that the party must take care "that it doesn't become a one-trick pony by making corruption its sole agenda".

Pointing out that people are struggling with inflation, unemployment and slow growth across the country, the paper says that if the AAP wants to be "a national alternative", it "must focus on issues of economy and governance".

The Pioneer quotes Janardan Dwivedi, general secretary of the ruling Congress party, as saying that the emergence of the AAP is a "warning and a challenge" and represents "the victory of the grievance of common residents from the system".

Writing in the same paper, Kaushik Deka points out that "the AAP phenomenon marks an important development in the Indian polity: it represents the rise of a new Left".

He argues that the organisation's manifesto, policies and actions "leave none in doubt" about its ideological leanings.

"However, it is not as puritanical as India's traditional Left which has allowed the party to reach out to a larger social segment," the article in The Pioneer adds.

Lok Sabha's 'worst' performance

Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India's parliament, is set to record its "worst" performance since the country became independent in 1947, as it has passed only 165 bills in its five-year term, The Times of India reports.

The paper says this "represents a collective failure on the part of our MPs and shows a woeful lack of respect for the responsibility vested in them by the people they were elected to serve".

On a more positive note, India's oldest parliamentarian Rishabh Keishing has decided to retire after a long and distinguished innings, the Zee News website reports.

Mr Keishing, who joined India's first Lok Sabha in 1952 and has been in politics ever since, now wants to devote his time to gardening, the report says.

'Wake-up call'

In other news, papers are outraged over the death of 19-year-old Nido Tania, a student from the north-east who was beaten up by shopkeepers in Delhi on Wednesday. He died the next day.

Indigenous people from the north-east, who are ethnically closer to people in Burma and China, often say they encounter discrimination in the rest of the country.

"Prejudices against those who appear different run deep in Indian society," says an editorial in The Hindu.

The paper feels that Indians need to "internalise the idea that we are a nation of diverse groups of people who need not necessarily resemble one another".

The Deccan Herald says that "deep prejudice, even racism, defines our attitudes and treatment of people we deem different from ourselves" and that "Tania's murder is a wake-up call".

"Dancing girl"

Meanwhile, Pakistan's Sindh province is planning to ask India to "return" a famous statue from the Indus Valley civilisation that existed around 2500BC on the subcontinent, the Business Standard reports.

The "Dancing Girl" statue, which is currently in the National Museum in Delhi, was excavated from Mohenjo-daro in Sindh before the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947.

And finally, blind navigators have guided drivers in a car rally in the northern city of Chandigarh, the Hindustan Times reports.

The drivers were unaware of the route and depended on their navigators, who gave directions from a braille road map, the report said.

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