A new documentary, An Insignificant Man, by first-time filmmakers Vinay Shukla and Khushboo Ranka, showed the world that a single-issue protest party can come to power. This documentary film was released by Vice in the United States this week, shows us behind-the-scenes history of the rise of anti-corruption party Aam Aadmi Party or AAP and its leader, Arvind Kejriwal.
Ranka said that the AAP were nobodies in the political circuit but, still managed to dethrone the Congress Party in Delhi in 2013 and further said that that they were nobodies at the time filming began was accidental. The title of the documentary reminds us that Kejriwal is an outsider as he was a joint commissioner in the income tax department in Delhi before he came to party politics.
Vinay Shukla said that in contemporary politics, the idea of insignificance is used across the spectrum and these politicians claim they will become significant by who and what they represent. But, Kejriwal has now become very significant as he is the chief minister of Delhi.
Milan Vaishnav of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said the AAP’s primary obsession is getting Delhi right. This means that they cannot work to grow into a true national movement. It is still a one-man show as shown in the documentary e.g. when he insists on picking candidates himself against the wishes of his volunteers. He further noted that in 2015, two years after the strong days featured in the documentary, Kejriwal consolidated power and removed intellectuals from the ranks.
Rick Rossow of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies said that consolidation of power limited the party’s national chances. He further said that there is one thing that swept into office was the anti-corruption message that vibrated as the Congress Party was in power and corruption scandals were everywhere.