Two times MLA from Malviya Nagar (Delhi), former Law Minister and Lawyer turned politician, Somnath Bharti is the founding member of Aam Aadmi Party. He has known Arvind Kejriwal since 2010. After anti-corruption movement when people were divided if a political party should be formed or not, Arvind Kejriwal was not in the favour forming of a political party. Somnath Bharti was one of the individuals who supported the idea and convinced Arvind Kejriwal to form a political party. Journey of Aam Aadmi Party started by wining 28 seats out of 70 during 2013 Delhi assembly elections followed by 4 Lok Sabha seats in 2014 general election, 20 in Punjab assembly elections and 67 seats during 2015 Delhi assembly elections. Since its formation, AAP is continuously growing. 

Legislative Reforms and PILs: Somnath Bharti always wanted to bring legislative reforms in India. This is the reason that after completing MSc degree from IIT Delhi, he joined law school at Delhi University. Generally, law professionals opt for internship programs for couple of years after completing their degree but Somnath directly went to Delhi High Court and started practicing law after registering with the Bar Association. He is also a lawyer at Supreme Court of India. He practices civil as well as criminal law but majority of his time goes in fighting for public interest issues through PILs. He brought justice to children against a doctoral dictate of the central government and nine youth maliciously frames during Nirabhya protest with murder of a policeman. Later he joined anti-corruption movement lead by Anna Hazare in 2011. Somnath was part of Civil Society demanding Jan Lokpal and represented it in the Supreme Court of India. While arguing in the court, one of the judges told him that their demands are not legitimate and to fulfil those, one need to join politics. This is when the political journey of Somnath started and AAP was born. 

Somnath Bharti
Somnath Bharti and others
Political approach of Somnath Bharti is unique and there are three programs for which he is well known: 
  1. Decentralization of his constituency: He divided the entire Malviya Nagar constituency into 35 sabhas and mapped his constituency in 40 whatsapp groups where he keeps in touch with each member of his constituency. 
  2. Home visits: He visits the home of at least one resident in each sabha on a fixed day and has one meal per day at the house of one of the residents in his constituency. So far he has been to 1200+ homes as part of his planned visits. 
  3. Facebook live: Every morning, he does a facebook live session about his work in Malviya Nagar constituency. 

Interesting Political Journey: With merely 6 years of political experience and less than 4 years of governance in Delhi, Somnath Bharti has started seeing the desired change in politics. He describes his journey as interesting rather than ordinary. A bunch of people who committed themselves to serve humanity via politics keep political reforms alive in the country. At all cost we have to serve the nation to bring the dreams of people who died for its cause come true. Whether it was Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas Chandra Bose or Bhagat Singh, it was their work, dedication and conviction that made them successful. In order to bring a change in society, one does not require money, but a vision and dream. By sticking to principals, AAP has been able to achieve multiple milestones in a short period of political time. 

Fighting for Change: Many people joined the political revolution, left and others keep on joining. People might have joined AAP with a different agenda, and when they found it unfulfilling, they decided to leave AAP. Somnath Bharti’s view on people leaving AAP due to lack of satisfaction is that we are fighting to change a system developed over 100 years and the process can not be completed in just a few years. It needs a lot of patience on the part of everyone involved. Only people capable of bearing pain and dreaming big will be able to change the system. In Malviya Nagar Constituency, every family member is connected with their MLA who is also available at all times. Democracy is about empowering the normal citizen and this is what we have been dreaming since the beginning. 

Somnath Bharti with Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia during a protest organized by Delhi CM
Somnath Bharti with Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia during a protest organized by Delhi CM 
Political Responsibilities and Family: Being AAP in-charge of south India, MLA and lawyer, Somnath Bharti needs to do a lot of travelling. During his long travels, his family sacrifices the most and for that he is really thankful to his wife for her understanding. Reduced time for family also led to a family issue when his wife filed a complaint against him. Before filing the complaint, Somnath’s wife went for consultation with Barkha Singh, DCW chairperson at the time. She took the matter politically and turned Somnath’s wife against him leading to a police complaint. Barkha Singh is known for denying to meet rape victims on holidays, who were looking for justice from DCW chairperson. During that time, media was hungry (still is) for any news against AAP and it was a perfect opportunity for them. The matter has ended well as the family is reunited and living together happily. 

Spirituality: Somnath is also a regular practitioner of Vipassana. He learnt meditation from his late father. It keeps him calm and focused. He starts his day around 5am with meditation and ends around midnight. Unless people who draw power from their insights are not joining the politics, political reforms are very far from reality. People who draw their power from attractions in the outside world such as position, wealth and connections will continue destroying our ecosystem. Some gurus or babas coming in the support of certain leaders is not spiritual politics. It has to come from a candidate himself/herself. There is so much pain around you, many Indians don’t have a roof to sleep, clothes to wear and food to eat. As a politician, one has a greater responsibility of taking care of their fellow countrymen by providing them the basic facilities they need. 

Hope: Somnath firmly believe that honest people will come forward and support Aam Aadmi Party whenever needed. Arvind Kejriwal fought India’s richest people to keep the electricity prices low. Lower electricity prices are additional savings for the people of Delhi. When we approach people with the same logic, people understand the importance of honest politics in India. Arvind Kejriwal and other AAP MLAs have already started going door-to-door and campaigning for upcoming elections. Selfless people who got no lust for money are coming in to support AAP. 

Somnath Bharti during 2015 election campaign in Delhi 
Vote for MP/MLA: The argument of Modi vs Rahul vs Kejriwal should be stopped and we need to focus our energy on issue based debates. Indian democracy is different than American where they vote for a president. We vote for MP/MLA who further choose prime minister or chief minister accordingly. If we choose deserving MP/MLA who really wants to bring change, we will start witnessing the change in our country. Further, good candidates will always select good leaders. If we vote for leaders, we may end up electing wrong MP/MLA who will further deteriorate the Indian system using corruption as a tool to build personal image or engage in illegal activities. 

Availability: In Malviya Nagar, MLA Somnath Bharti is available to people all the time whenever he is in town. But the elected MP from BJP has rarely been seen after voting day. It is understandable that a MP needs to be present in Lok sabha so many of them moved to Delhi but what stops a MP from engaging in Delhi? While meeting with residents, Somnath also educate people about the need of a people friendly MP. Delhi is more interesting because control over police, law and land lies with the central government. When any incident happens in Delhi, people are helpless and do not know where to go and whom to approach. Presence of MP in their constituency will make the situation different because MP, police, law and order falls under the central government umbrella. 

Perception about AAP: There is news claiming that AAP may not come back in Delhi with the same intensity as 67/70. But at the same time media can not be trusted as there has been very little support from them and their prediction was never right in the past. Somnath and other MLAs are on the ground and in contact with local people. People in Delhi and across India praise the work done by AAP. AAP started good but roadblocks by LG office and central government slowed it down. This resulted in MCD elections where AAP won less than expected seats. This is because people perceived AAP wrongly. They thought AAP was responsible for everything in Delhi including works such as cleaning streets, laying pipelines, managing police and making laws. In reality there are three bodies in Delhi: MP, MLA and councillor. All of them have different duties and powers. Now, people are being educated about different bodies and their responsibilities. It can be clearly seen that the perception about AAP is changing day by day as people are getting aware more. 

Work done in the area of health, education, transport, infrastructure, services and environment is being discussed worldwide. Each AAP MLA is easily accessible setting up new standards and challenging other parties. VIP culture in Delhi has been abolished as anyone whether they are poor or rich can meet their MLA and ask questions. It is slow change and success of AAP can not be judged based on merely 4 years of governance. There is long way to go and a long battle to fight. Change come slowly and it has started from Delhi.

Watch following video of AAP Ka Radio conference call with Somnath Bharti.

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