The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) became a national phenomenon even before it made its stunning debut in the Delhi Assembly elections last year. Starting the anti-corruption movement and high on the bijli-paani agenda, the rookie of Indian politics created a wave despite the presence of big players such as the Congress and the BJP.
The emergence of AAP as a ‘promising alternative’ to the other parties attracted many, especially the youth, to join the movement. Some college students who did internships with the AAP recount their experiences.
Manav Batra, a final-year civil engineering student of NIT, Jalandhar, says, “It was quite an amazing experience. It turned out to be challenging. We were a team of 40 people and were allotted specific areas in Delhi. I was allotted Patparganj under Manish Sisodia. It was the closest one can get to the elections. I like observing human behaviour and enjoyed interacting with so many people from different backgrounds, age groups and cultures. It was quite an experience to see people waiting for AAP workers to listen to their side of the story.”
The experience has had a deep impact on Batra because he saw several people leaving their full- time jobs and working round-the-clock for the party. “They saw a ray of hope for a better India and a desire for change,” says Batra.
For Sharan Gulati, a student of Kirori Mal College, Delhi University, “It was more of a cultural experience than an internship with a political party. My job involved surveying and mapping the constituencies. I went around interacting with people in remote corners, doing awareness campaigns. I got a chance to see how a political party functions and the different organs involved in its functioning.”