Indian anti-graft crusader uses ruling party's slogan
Election hopeful calls his group Aam Admi, the 'common man' phrase of ruling Congress party
India's leading anti-corruption crusader has hijacked the campaign slogan used by the ruling Congress party as the name for his new political movement as he prepares to do electoral battle.
Arvind Kejriwal, a diminutive and bespectacled former government tax official, announced his group would be called the "Aam Admi Party" which means the "Common Man's Party".
"Aam admi" is the catchphrase long used by the Congress party, which has dominated India for most of its post-independence history, to connect with the hundreds of millions of poor it sees as its biggest constituency.
Kejriwal, whose string of corruption accusations against the graft-tainted Congress government and some of India's most powerful people have unsettled the elite, said "common men, women and children" were forming the party.
"They are not politicians. They are fed up of politicians. They are the people who are fed up of corruption," he told a televised news conference.
"This is why the common man has decided to challenge them. Now the common man will sit in parliament," he said, declaring his party will contest the next general election due in 2014.
Kejriwal, whose hero is Indian independence icon Mahatma Gandhi, first came to prominence last year, serving as the chief lieutenant to veteran anti-corruption campaigner Anna Hazare during the latter's 12-day hunger strike.
Kejriwal has won national attention with his almost weekly salvos against high-profile targets, ignoring critics who have have accused him of acting irresponsibly with his "name and shame" tactics.
He has accused Salman Khurshid, India's foreign minister and Congress party member, of syphoning off funds from a family-run non-profit help group - charges he has strongly denied.
Information Minister Manish Tewari dismissed Kejriwal's appropriation of Congress's favourite phrase.
"[The phrase] 'aam admi' has been synonymous with the Congress party since 1885. Nobody can hijack the intrinsic relation between Congress and the 'aam admi'," he said.