The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) created a sensation with a stellar debut in the Delhi assembly polls and is increasingly attracting people from different walks of life.
With the rookie party going strong on its anti-corruption plank, here’s a look at some of the big names who have decided to join hands with Arvind Kejriwal.
Captain Gopinath (62)
The founder of budget airline Air Deccan, Captain Gopinath joined the AAP on January 3. Gopinath made his first foray into politics in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, in which he fought from Bangalore South against BJP’s Ananth Kumar and lost. Said to be impressed by the AAP’s anti-corruption stand, he has not ruled out contesting the upcoming polls.
Mallika Sarabhai (60)
A bitter critic of Gujarat chief minister and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, danseuse, actor and social activist Mallika Sarabhai joined the AAP this week. She contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 as an independent candidate from Gandhinagar against BJP leader LK Advani and lost by a huge margin. Daughter of scientist Vikram Sarabhai and classical dance exponent Mrinalini Sarabhai, she has often been in news for taking up issues related to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Senior editor and well-known TV personality Ashutosh left his job at IBN7 to join the AAP. Ashutosh made his decision public on Twitter. He wrote, “These are historic moments, societal churning is on, everybody has to contribute to make the change robust and beautiful. Eight years back I changed my course, now there is another time, another call of destiny, have to swim.”
Meera Sanyal (52)
The former chairperson and CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS, India), Meera Sanyal contested in 2009 as an independent candidate from Mumbai South and lost. She got associated with the AAP during the Delhi assembly elections, in which she campaigned for the party for New Delhi and Greater Kailash seats. She has expressed her desire to fight the upcoming general elections from Mumbai South again.
Sameer Nair (49)
Former NDTV and STAR TV CEO Sameer Nair joined the AAP before the Delhi assembly elections to help the party formulate communication strategies. In a press release, Nair had said he had joined the party to offer his expertise in whatever way possible to bring a change in the society. “... my friends are ready to contribute to AAP’s communication work free of cost,” he had said.
V Balakrishnan (48)
After stepping down as a board member of software behemoth Infosys in December last year, Balakrishnan wanted to focus on creating a successful private equity fund. However, the result of the Delhi assembly elections, according to him, was an eye-opener. “I genuinely want to be part of such a change and revolution. I strongly believe that the real impact of AAP will be felt in the 2014 parliamentary elections,” he wrote in his blog.
Kanubhai Kalsaria (60)
A former BJP MLA from Gujarat, Kanubhai Kalsaria has been at the forefront of all land and environment-related agitations in Gujarat. He won the Mahuva assembly seat three times in a row, but parted ways with the BJP in 2012 elections, when he fought and lost the seat.
Alka Lamba (38)
Former NSUI member Alka Lamba broke her 10-year-long association with the Congress to join the AAP in December last year. Lamba had joined NSUI in 1994 and won the DUSU election for the post of president in 1995. She was appointed as the general secretary of the All India Mahila Congress in 2002. One year later, she unsuccessfully contested the Delhi Assembly polls from Moti Nagar constituency against BJP leader Madan Lal Khurana.
HS Phoolka (58)
Senior Supreme Court advocate HS Phoolka has been the face of legal battle for justice to the victims of 1984 riots for years. Although he has worked closely with Shiromani Akali Dal-controlled Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and Delhi Sikh Grudwara Management Committee, he chose to join the AAP instead of the Akali Dal.
Adarsh Shastri (40)
The grandson of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and son of Congress leader Anil Shastri left his job as the sales head in Apple Inc to join the AAP. In a tweet after joining the party, he said he would try and live up to his grandfather’s name. “We all feel his vacuum in these trying times,” he wrote on Twitter. He also said he did not join his father’s party as he thought he would not fit into the Congress.