Mumbai: While the Lok Sabha elections may have left Aam Aadmi Party in political limbo, NRIs who sacrificed their jobs and dipped into their savings for AAP have not given up on it. Though many are back in the US cutting their losses, they are simultaneously working towards strengthening the party.
Deelip Mhaske, AAP's candidate from Jalna in Maharashtra's farm suicide belt, is the son of a Dalit farm labourer whose mother once worked as a rag-picker. Mhaske made it as an entrepreneur in America, only to give it all up last year to contest from his hometown on an AAP ticket. "I spent my life's savings on the elections. The results were disappointing," says Mhaske who is back in New York trying to revive his business.
"It was suicidal for AAP to contest on such a large scale without a base. All over the world social movements that grow into political parties do not expand so fast without strong institutions in place."
Though critical of AAP's election strategy, he has no intention of giving up on it as he says it is India's most credible political alternative. He is working on creating a database and raising funds for AAP. He is also working towards drawing independent poll candidates, Dalit leaders and trade unionists to AAP. Mhaske is no stranger to election campaigns, having worked on Obama's campaign.
Mhaske is not the only NRI building a cadre for AAP. After working off his debt in the US, a young management consultant from Chicago called Navendu Shirali hopes to return to his hometown, Goa, and work at the grassroots level to build a base for AAP. "The people of Goa voted for BJP to bring change to the state. It's been over two years since the party formed a government in Goa, and yet not a single person has been tried for the rampant corruption in mining and real estate," says Shirali.
He volunteered for the party during the Delhi assembly elections last year and the recent Lok Sabha campaign. He is set to take a break from work once again to support AAP during the upcoming Delhi elections. Over the past year, he stopped going out for movies or on vacations with his parents to save money, which he donated to AAP.
After 14 years in the US, Raghava Solipuram and his wife left America for Hyderabad in mid-2013 to work for AAP. Solipuram has also worked for the party in Delhi. "It was a very tough decision, especially since we had two children, both of whom were born in the US. They were put in boarding school when we moved to India," he said. After a one year break from work, he is back in Washington. He is now on the lookout for a job that will allow him time in India.
Between November 2013 and May 2014, Singapore-based former McKinsey Management Consultant and IIM Kolkatta alumnus Rajen Makhijiani spent 50% time in India, on social impact projects and campaigning for AAP.
He ran an anti-alcohol campaign exhorting people not to vote in exchange for alcohol or money. While he is a tad disappointed with the election results, he is buoyed by the fact that AAP won more votes in the Lok Sabha polls than it did in the Delhi Assembly elections last year. "Though 31% of the vote share went to the BJP, 69% did not. This 69% also needs a voice. Alternate politics is as relevant now as it was under Congress. The BJP has not offered any real alternative," says Makhijiani, who will now work on policy and fund-raising for AAP.
The above is from the Times of India.
Not only NRIs but all those who have the good of India at heart will continue to support AAP.
It is the only party which can bring honesty in the working of the government.
All the others, just name them are all dishonest and made up of corrupt elements of society.
It is not that dishonest and corrupt persons have not tried to get into AAP to ride the wave.
The difference is:
If even one person is corrupt in a party and the party knowingly retains him/her, it is corrupt.
On the other hand, any dishonest, corrupt person is thrown out of AAP once it is discovered.
That is the difference between AAP and the other political parties.