Madhu Narasiah, 35, left his well-paying job as a software engineer in Boston, U.S. and came to India to volunteer for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nearly two months ago. Today, he’s happy that he and dozens of NRIs who came to work as volunteers, were able to contribute in ensuring the new party made a mark in Indian politics.
“I have been a volunteer since India Against Corruption (IAC) days and was really enthused with IAC taking a political turn… I felt we may not get another opportunity to bring this change,” Madhu told IANS.
He visited many constituencies and spoke to people about the party that was formed a year ago and how it could usher in a change in the polity of the country.
Narasiah, however, is not the only one. Over 50 NRIs came to Delhi to ensure that AAP was able to give a tough fight to both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). And their hard work helped.
AAP surprised many when it secured 28 seats in the 70-member Delhi assembly when the results were announced Sunday.
Its founder Arvind Kejriwal defeated incumbent Delhi Chief Minister by a record margin of more than 25,000 votes from the New Delhi constituency.
An elated Narasiah, who is originally from Tamil Nadu, said: “It was the only opportunity we had to bring a change in the country’s political system. And we are happy today.” Many NRIs also collected funds for the campaign.
“There are many NRIs who came to India to volunteer, and then there were hundreds abroad who helped the movement and the party in several ways,” an AAP member, who did not want to be named, told IANS.
Apart from NRIs from the U.S. and Britain, there were also some from Australia, Singapore, UAE and Canada. Brad Mishra, a 45-year-old corporate executive from Sydney, Australia, came all the way to volunteer.
He took a break from his job and left his family to volunteer for the party that fought on the principles of ending graft and providing clean governance.
“This is the first time such a huge mass is coming together. There is a hope that change may start from New Delhi and spread all over the country,” said Mishra, who actively campaigned in the New Delhi constituency from where Kejriwal defeated three-time chief minister Dikshit.
Jaiant Misra,77, from U.K. said he came to work as a volunteer because he wanted to hear the voice of Indian youth.
“I wanted to talk to the youth, the women, the entrepreneurs… and to go to the rural areas and work,” said Misra.
Misra assisted the campaigning in seven constituencies in the national capital that voted Dec. 4.
These NRI volunteers also started a campaign to adopt constituencies.
“Constituencies were adopted and we raised resources for the campaign,” said Mishra. The aim, Mishra said, was to provide basic amenities, like healthcare, in these constituencies.
An AAP member said the party got nearly $1 million in donations from NRIs.
“The details of all donations are on our website, each NRI declared he has an Indian passport and a copy of passport is also uploaded,” the AAP member told IANS.
With his work over, Narasiah now wants to go to Bangalore and spend some time with his family before flying back to the U.S. Mishra, however, wants to continue his work.
“I will go to my home state in Odisha and strengthen AAP’s network there,” he added.
“I also plan to establish an academy for training political and social aspirants,” said Mishra, who plans to return to Australia in April next year.–IANS