8:56 pm - Tuesday June 18, 2024

This London-based techie donates Rs. 2014 to AAP everyday

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London – Over tea, a group of NRI friends gather to talk about Indian politics. The group, comprising mostly IT Professionals, are all supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Discussions range from why India needs a “cleaner” system to more emotional disclosures about why many Indians left home and what needs to change.

And with all of the hubbub in the background Ravinder Sirohi, an IT consultant, brings out his laptop. It is time for his daily ritual – he donates Rs. 2014 to AAP every day from London. He’s been doing it since January 1, 2014.

“I just quickly had a chat with my wife and she said, yes we can do it. We decided OK, I will not take any coffee when I am (at work) and I will take my coffee before I leave for office and she will prepare breakfast and lunch at home. If we go out in the UK, lunch is about five or six pounds, so it has reduced my cost by one-third,” he said.

Ashraf Sarwath, another volunteer tells NDTV about the “Call Delhi” campaign, a drive carried out by AAP’s UK-based supporters. They telephone thousands of people in villages and smaller towns across India to tell people about Arvind Kejriwal’s party.

“We reach down to the voters on the ground. As you know voters don’t have access to Twitter or Facebook. So we call people in villages to tell them that we’ve formed a political party, we tell them about the symbol, what we’ve been doing and how we are doing it,” said Ms Sarwath, a software developer, who is gearing up for the upcoming general elections in 2014.

She and her husband proudly explain that they are going to focus their efforts on three states in India.

“What drives me is that — I was very happy with my life in my own cocoon. But life is not about living in your cocoon, you have to give back to society,” she says.

Recently, AAP’s Shazia Ilmi was invited by students at Warwick University in the UK. She was asked a raft of questions. Ms Ilmi tried to answer them all.

Ruchir Dalmia, a student who was present said, “Shazia’s visit and talk provided a fantastic insight to students about India’s newest political phenomenon, we were glad to have been able to host her.”

Later Ms Ilmi travelled to Southall, a popular Indian suburb where she addressed more people.

AAP’s Raj Redij-Gill said, “UK donations are actually a small part of the larger chunk. Donations for the US are the most significant. I think people are donating because they think things can change (in India).”

But there are many among the NRI community who are not so convinced.

“This is just hype,” says Nachiket Joshi, national executive committee member of the BJP, based here in London.

“I don’t think NRIs are convinced about the AAP. Especially, after the chaos and confusion in Delhi. I think people saw how inexperienced these people really are,” he added.

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