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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Kejriwal's IIT support dips

Vanita Srivastava , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 12, 2014
First Published: 20:40 IST(12/3/2014) | Last Updated: 23:20 IST(12/3/2014)

Ritesh Singh, a final-year student of IIT Kharagpur, donning an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) cap, is a member of the party, but says he won't vote for it.

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"There is no formal way of resigning from the AAP membership, otherwise I would have done it already," Singh, a student of computer science, said. "I was with Arvindji since the Anna (Hazare) movement, but now I am disillusioned with him and his party. They just want to be in the news all the time and are merely interested in vote-bank politics."

Brand IIT, which played a pivotal role in building Kejriwal's image — he is an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur — and believed that he could bring about a change in the corruption-tainted political landscape of the country, is losing faith in him.

A Facebook page, IITians against AAP, started by IIT graduates has got around 35,000 likes within a short period. "He was misusing his credentials to impress gullible people," the four founders of the page said.

Some IITians settled abroad, who were earlier supporting Kejriwal, are no longer enthusiastic about him.

"We were all proud when Kejriwal joined politics," Anil Bansal, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur settled in the US, said. "Finally, a smart, hard working intelligent person had entered politics. This is what India needed. But when he resigned as Delhi chief minister and started focusing his energies on attacking Narendra Modi, we started questioning his integrity. Is he just a puppet of the Congress? Disappointed will be an understatement."

Nawal Agrawal, a final-year student of IIT Kharagpur and a former AAP supporter, said: "They have deviated from their stand. Not everything in Gujarat is bad. They should have praised the good things while criticising the bad things, instead of doing theatrics."

"Kejriwal had started with promise, but has proved to be yet another politician," Angshuman Chakraborty, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, said. "His attention-grabbing antics and frequent and opportunist changing of stance have turned many IITians, including myself, against him and the AAP."

However, some still see him as an agent of change. Ranjan Kumar Singh in the US changed his name to Ranjan Aap Singh during the Delhi assembly elections. "I am a great fan of Kejriwal," he said. "If he cannot clean up politics, no one can."

Agreed another IIT alumnus, who did not wish to be named. "We should give him some time," he said. "He has a lot of potential and his plans were in the right direction."


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