NEW DELHI: Arvind Kejriwal’s idea of change by installing a government of common people is attracting Indians abroad in droves — people who are keeping their careers on hold for months to come to India in support of his cause.
Take the case of Munish K. Raizada, a Chicago-based neonatologist. He has shut his medical practice for the time being to be with Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) till the year-end, that is till the assembly election results are out. Jaynath Mishra, a retired lecturer from London, regularly visits slum clusters in the Wazirpur area of north Delhi for AAP’s mass contact programme. Rajesh Singh, a US-based software engineer and Subhash Tanwar from Ghana are now in India to lend weight to AAP’s mission for change.
The NRI and PIO supporters of Kejriwal’s party are camping in Delhi with the firm belief that the idea of governance by the common people will work this time and AAP will play a major role in the coming assembly elections.
Dr Raizada, who has been associated with Kejriwal since the inception of the party, said that NRIs and PIOs back AAP for what it stands. “We believe that the culture of politics in India needs to change. Here, politics has become a bad word. There is no dearth of talent and wealth in this country, yet we are so poor.
We can compete with any other developed country, but we are far behind,” he said.
Dr Raizada is a member of the volunteer engagement programme. His task is to assign roles to volunteers from across the country for the coming assembly elections in Delhi. He said that there are at least 50 NRIs who come to AAP’s headquarters in Connaught Place’s Hanuman Road and they do different work. “Some of them have started staying here in the city. Others have come here for a few days and will return after completing their work with AAP. But there are those who have assured us that they will come back soon to work for the party,” he added.
Jaynath Mishra had watched the Lokpal movement led by Anna Hazare on TV at home in London and was impressed. “When I heard that Arvind Kejriwal has launched his party to contest elections, I could not resist my temptation to support him. He is intelligent, dedicated and selfless and I have complete trust in his leadership,” said Mishra.
On his visits to the slum clusters in Wazirpur he said he found it painful to see people living in those filthy colonies. “I don’t know what the government has been doing all these years for the people of this city,” said Mishra.
Support from NRIs had started pouring in for Kejriwal when a group of Indian-Americans from 20 cities had held a meeting in Chicago in May this year and pledged their support for what they saw as the political movement of change being spearheaded by AAP. Support grew after Kejriwal, speaking to his supporters through live video conferencing, had talked about AAP's role in India's growth and outlined what NRIs could do to push this agenda.
It seemed to have a salutary effect on those who heard him. Among those who stepped up to the AAP cause and its idea of change were those who had heard him that day.
And like Jaynath Singh, who visits the slum clusters in north Delhi, these NRIs are ready to rough it out in the grime. Rajesh Singh, for instance, starts his day meeting people in Chhattarpur. He said that he was at the Chicago meet and had heard Kejriwal. “I heard him through video- conferencing and that was enough to change my mind. I vowed to work for the party for my country,” he said.
The success of the Chicago conference appears to have convinced the AAP leadership about holding similar meets. Recently, Kejriwal spoke to NRI donors in the US and Hong Kong, also via video conferencing.
There is hope that more NRIs will join Kejriwal’s line of supporters.
After all it was at the first convention of AAP in the US in May that a resolution was passed saying that NRIs have a crucial role to play in the political movement being spearheaded by the anti- corruption activist.
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.