Delhi voters prove money can’t win hearts: AAP supporters in UK

  • Prasun Sonwalkar/ Anirudh Bhattacharyya, Hindustan Times, London/Toronto
  • Updated: Feb 10, 2015 22:49 IST

Supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) across the United Kingdom expressed delight over its record win in Delhi.

Those who had travelled to Delhi to contribute to the party's campaign said the win proved that ‘money power cannot win the hearts’ of the people.

AAP has had an office in Ealing, west London, since January 2014. Donated by one of AAP supporters, the office had been set up and funded by supporters of the party in Britain, and not by the Delhi-based party.

AAP’s supporters in the UK mainly comprise professionals from IT, finance, retail and medicine sectors, who organised a ‘Flame of Hope’ programme from 21 December to 25 January across the UK to enlist support for the party. Rs 15 lakh were donated through the party’s website by Indian passport holders who received the ‘Flame of Hope’ and pledged the donations, AAP coordinator Prayas Chaudhary told Hindustan Times.

“This victory has redefined Indian politics. We feel proud to be a part of it. Today, UK NRIs and AAP supporters see the Flame of Hope we lit break into a new dawn in Delhi, a new day of hope of the common man”, Chaudhary said.

In Canada, as over 50 AAP volunteers of Greater Toronto Area or GTA chapter gathered on Monday evening at the party office to watch the returns of the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections, the mood was a sheer contrast to that which prevailed just months earlier on counting day for the Lok Sabha elections.

“After a couple of hours, we were very disappointed,” 39-year-old software engineer Sumesh Handa said, of that evening. But this evening was one of celebration. As the trends made it clear the AAP was heading towards a sweeping victory, there were cheers, tears, and an atmosphere of a party, of the celebratory type.

A cake featuring the icing, AAP ki Sarkar, brought in by a volunteer, was cut. “We got it earlier, we were so confident,” said 25-year-old Kiranbir Kaur, an accountant, originally from Ludhiana.

This office is the hub for AAP’s activities in Canada’s largest and most populous metropolitan area, close to the Dixie Gurdwara, and between the Indo-Canadian population centres of Brampton and Mississauga in the province of Ontario.

And volunteers had sweated through previous weeks at this venue. Among them is 30-year-old Sudeep Singla, an IT professional originally from Hoshiarpur, who said that they had made between 16,000 and 17,000 calls to gin up support for their party among Delhi’s voters and collected nearly Rs 90 lakh in donations. “I made calls to my relatives, did whatever I could do,” Singla said. Calling cards were also provided to supporters for the outreach effort.

Buoyed and overjoyed by results, these volunteers are now planning a celebratory meeting later this month at the five-room office, where they had gathered around a large screen television to track the outcome of the polls.

Initially, there was nervousness, as Handa, who is from Jhansi, said, “Trust me, I was having sleepless nights. It was the same feeling as when I was waiting for my engineering exams results!” Just a couple of hours on, the results delighted him: “This is one of the happiest days of my life, since my son was born.”

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