Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Political Representation in the Discourse and Practices of the “Party of the Common Man” in India

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Abstract:  One of the many challenges presented by populism concerns its relationship with political representation. What happens when an anti-politics movement wins elections? This article offers an analysis of the exercise of power by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP, Party of the Common Man), which has been ruling the city-state of Delhi since 2015, in order to bring elements of answer to this question. On the basis of discourse analysis as well as direct observation of meetings, the article first identifies a series of populist tropes in the official discourse of the AAP, including a de-emphasis on representation to the advantage of participation. It then describes the two main participatory schemes implemented by the AAP government since 2015, and shows that these generate, in different ways, a magnification of the mediation work that is central to political representation at the local level in the Indian context. Finally, the article argues that the party has been developing, through these participatory schemes, a form of “inclusive representation” (Hayat, 2013), in which inclusion is linked to mobilization.

Keywords:  Aam Aadmi Party; India; mediation; participatory democracy; political representation; populism



© Stéphanie Tawa Lama-Rewal. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.