Behind the Aam Aadmi Party’s spectacular electoral debut lay a team of young, suave and skilled men. Most of them quit their jobs and studies — both in India and abroad — or took a sabbatical and set out "to change electoral politics and not merely the government."
While an astute party leadership, energetic candidates and relentless volunteers prominently featured, and rightly so, in the biggest election success story this poll season that is AAP, it’s the backroom boys who silently wrote the script.
They worked on various fronts — collecting donations, social media campaigns, outdoor publicity, volunteer training, besides research and surveys. After Delhi, all these volunteers are now bracing for Mission 2014.
(L-R) Bipul Dey, Kumar Gaurav, Faheem Khan, Munish Raizada, Dinup Mathew and Ankit Lal at the Aam Aadmi Party headquarters in New Delhi. (Virendra Singh Gosain/ HT Photo)
Dileep Pandey, an IT expert, left Hong Kong and oversaw communications for AAP. Allahabad lad Durgesh Pathak came to Delhi for IAS entrance exams but chose to stay on, helping AAP in its door-to-door campaigns.
Karn Singh shut his drug shop in Chandigarh to mobilise auto-rickshaw drivers to drum up support for AAP. And the list goes on.
Ankit Lal, who left his job with an IT firm to run AAP’s social media campaigns, said: "My father was part of the JP movement in 1974; he used to tell a lot of stories. On meeting Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal, I found my true calling."
Dinup Mathew, a corporate behavioural skills trainer, made presentations and prepared surveys.
"I have been at the receiving end of unfair government practices in both my personal and business lives. Greasing the palms of all and sundry to get the most routine work done was increasingly a norm. I had no option," he said. Vaibhav Singh works an engineer for a software firm in Delhi.
"I was a key-board supporter of the Anna movement but when the political class broke its promise of passing the Jan Lokpal bill, I joined AAP as an online communication response team member."