Historically, the phrase has had wide populist appeal in public discourse. It has often been used to denote the masses and their interests.
In recent years the term "aam aadmi" has been used in Indian politics to denote populist sentiment similar to the "99%" slogan of the Occupy Movement. Anti-populist voices have mocked this slogan by using the intentionally absurd literal translation, "mango man" — playing on the word "aam," that is also the word for a mango.
Examples of its use in the political context include:
- the Aam Aadmi Party, an anti-corruption political party founded in 2012 that seeks swaraj and a shift in the balance of power away from political elites in favour of the common man.
- use by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) coalition to communicate a populist political platform during the 2004 and 2009 elections. The various parties of the UPA coalition used "aam admi" to mean the aim of bringing happiness and prosperity to the common man. The Indian National Congress, the leading member of the UPA coalition used "aam admi" to mean the provision of the three essentials – food, clothing and shelter – to the masses.
- India Against Corruption, a nationwide people's movement demanding passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill, for the institution of an ombudsman with the power to deal with corruption in public office.
The Aam Aadmi Ka Sipahi (the Common Man's Army) upholds the Right to Information Act and NREGA. The Aam Aadmi Ka Sipahi aims to popularise the UPA government's flagship programmes by the Youth Congress and train local youths in e-governance and use of computers. Youth will work at the panchayat level to facilitate the smooth functioning of NREGA and the Right to Information Act. They create awareness among the rural poor of their rights.
- "Soldier tag for Youth Cong – Pro-poor Scheme launched". The Daily Telegraph. 14 May 2007. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
- "Rahul Gandhi to launch 'Aam Admi Ka Sipahi' | TopNews". Topnews.in. 18 July 2009.
- "Rahul Gandhi to launch 'Aam Admi Ka Sipahi' – Thaindian News". Thaindian.com. 18 July 2009.
- AAM AADMI KA SIPAHI http://www.indianyouthcongress.blogspot.com