This LS 2014 Elections ... will you, the voter, make a promise ?

“The AAP will make no promises to you. Instead it will ask you to make a promise. This time you will not cast your vote on the basis of kinship. You will forget caste; you will drive away the distributors of alcohol and money. AAP has not come to ask you for your vote. If there is anything we ask of you, it is to have faith in yourselves; and to listen to the voice of your soul. This election is not about the victory or defeat of political parties; it is about victory or defeat within ourselves. In front of the voting machine, we must think of the future of our children, the future of our city and our dreams for the future of our country.” Short link

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Aap ki Dilli !

Today, Feb 10th, 2015 has been a very special and unforgettable day !

The stunning sweep of AAP's victory, with 67 out of 70 seats in the Delhi Vidhan Sabha, has come at the conclusion of a long campaign. My heartfelt thanks to each one of you who kept faith in the party through thick and thin, and for your continuous messages of support and encouragement.

Many of you have sent messages asking for the reasons of today's extraordinary results. Based on the several Jan Sabhas and campaign meetings that I attended over the past several months, I believe these are the 5 most important :

1. The hard work and credibility of our candidates : who embraced the idea of Swaraj.

Candidates who had been elected as MLA's in the 2013 election, conducted several Mohalla sabhas and meetings with Residents' Welfare Associations (RWA's) to ascertain the most pressing needs of their constituency. They then proceeded to expend their entire MLA LAD (Local area development) Funds, in line with these priorities. By the time the Delhi assembly was dissolved in late 2014, each had a tangible report card of projects that had been efficiently executed.

Candidates who had lost the last election (many by very narrow margins) remained engaged with their constituents and worked on identifying solutions to local issues - functioning as the shadow MLAs of their area.

None of them knew whether or not they would be given a ticket for the 2015 election - but that did not hold them back. They used the past year wisely to build relationships and earn the trust of their voters - which gave them a great advantage, during the short one month campaign period.

2. The AAP 49 day Government : and the promises that were kept

Though projected in a negative light by many in the media, the 49 day AAP Government was actually a great success with the Aam Nagrik of Delhi. Corruption visibly reduced, the VAT "raid raj" ceased, school admissions were made more transparent, an SIT was instituted to probe the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, 47 fast track courts to handle cases of violence against women were commissioned and promises on power and water were kept, to name just a few.

"Jo kaha so Kiya" was a campaign cry that evoked a very positive response at every Jan Sabha I attended. Indeed the anger against Arvind Kejriwal was not that he had "run away" as projected by the Opposition - but that he had not stayed on and continued to deliver.

When Arvind apologised with folded hands and said that he would never resign again, if voted in with a majority, the crowd would roar with approval !

3. Positive, Issue based Campaign : and staying away from personal, negative remarks

In October last year we started the Delhi Dialogue process, which as shared in earlier mails, I led along with a few of my AAP colleagues. Through the Dialogue we had discussions with stakeholders from across the city - with youth, women, traders, villagers, teachers, health workers, RWA's etc to understand their problems. We then had discussions with specialists locally, nationally and globally to identify solutions to these issues.

Our focus was to identify Issues and solutions that an Elected Govt in Delhi could address to make the life of Delhi's citizens simpler and better. The dialogue was apolitical and bipartisan - we tried to speak with as wide a range of stakeholders as possible - whether they were AAP supporters or not.

What emerged was very positive and energising. The dialogue itself created a great deal of positive energy. The outcome of the dialogue created a tangible and pragmatic 70 point action plan, that became the solid foundation for our Delhi manifesto.

4. Wonderful and highly motivated volunteers : Dil se !

The magic of AAP is in the people it attracts - and the selflessness with which they work. Drawn from all walks of life and from every socio economic strata, the Delhi campaign was powered by Volunteers who had seen the party through its worst days and had chosen to stick by it. United by their desire to serve their country, no one was paid for their efforts - other than for modest reimbursements of expenses.

The Delhi team was supplemented by volunteers from across the country and a superbly competent NRI team. With no hierarchy or discernible organisational structure, volunteers bonded together to form a living organism that was determined to bring in 5 Saal Kejriwal !

The camaraderie and enthusiasm with which volunteers got the Aam Aurat and Aam Aadmi to sing and dance to Vishal Dadlani's catchy song, in Jan Sabhas, rallies, nukkad meetings, and just spontaneously in small groups had to be experienced to be believed. Talented singers, poets, actors, artists, cartoonists, IT professionals each contributed to make this a very successful and viral campaign in both the real and the virtual world.

5. The Opposition : what went wrong ?

Political analysts will undoubtedly present detailed analyses on the reasons for the opposition's debacle. Suffice it to say, that the mainstream political parties seemed to score a series of self-goals, that were hard to fathom.

I believe we will look back to the 2015 Delhi election as a turning point. In a democracy, no matter how good the Government may be, an Alternative is essential.

For the past several months it seemed as if India was heading in a direction of single party dominance. Today the Common man has sent a message of hope across the country - that there is an alternative.

The onus is now on AAP to remain grounded and deliver transparent and accountable governance, that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable.

With your continued support, I am confident we will do so !

Warm regards
Meera Sanyal

AAP's 70 point Action Plan

Mumbaikars who campaigned for Delhi

Over 400 men and women from Mumbai put their lives on hold to campaign for AAP in Delhi WHAT THE CITY'S PARTY VOLUNTEERS DID TO HELP ARVIND KEJRIWAL CONQUER THE DELHI ASSEMBLY

As the Aam Aadmi Party's Delhi campaign accrued momen tum, it began to draw volunteers derived from regions politi cally and geographically removed from the national capital to its gravitational pull. Of these, 700 were from Maharashtra, a number that included 400 Mumbaikars ­ bankers, students, music directors, reality show hosts, fitness trainers, tweeple and television stars. Each contributed a specific skill to the crusade ­ taken together they were to function as the party's human megaphone; AAP had a spare campaign budget with which to broadcast its manifesto. Some knocked on doors, others crafted talking points, still others retweeted. The sum of this Mumbai contingent's parts, according to Meera Sanyal, AAP's South Mumbai candidate in the 2014 parlia mentary elections, gave vital thrust to the party's efforts in » Delhi. Mumbai Mirror compiled brief profiles of a cross sec tion of this contingent .

Kumud Mishra (Lecturer)

THIS 35-year-old campaigner was an early adherent of the India Against Corruption (IAC) movement ­ AAP's ideological fore bear. Mishra, who teaches physics in a Ghatkopar college, was asked to work with a team of ten experienced campaigners for a month in those poor neigh bourhoods of Delhi where the AAP lacked purchase.

“We mobilised women in jhuggijhopdis through door-to-door out reach,“ she said. “My work with cancer patients who live on the footpath opposite Mumbai's Tata Memorial Hospital taught me lessons that came in handy.“


Smita Bansal (Actress)

BANSAL, who played Sumitra in the daytime soap Balika Vadhu, madeseveral trips to Delhi as the cam paign obtained velocity. The actress crisscrossed the city, speaking on behalf of several candidates. “Zero negativity was our motto,“ she said. “We didn't focus on bad mouthing the opponents. Instead, we directed our energies in winning the trust of the people.“


Meera Sanyal (Former Banker)

SANYAL (53) brought to bear her organisational acumen in helping chart AAP's 70-point action plan for Delhi. “I worked with Ashish Khetan and Roshan Shankar in building the manifesto, and this helped in fash ioning the dialogue around the party,“ she said. Few people out side AAP are privy to the role she played in Krishna Nagar, a critical battlefront, which pitched the BJP's Kiran Bedi against AAP's SK Bagga. Sanyal mustered a force of 1,000 women, who can vassed the constituents. “I think this made a differ ence of at least 10,000 votes,“ Bagga reportedly told party workers later.
He defeated Bedi by 2,277 votes.


Girish Bhaskar (Fitness Instructor)

LIKE the other social media maven in this list, Bhaskar took to the internet to propagandise.

“We didn't have any money to spend on advertising (see `BJP ads to its woes' in the following page), so we took over twitter and Facebook,“ said the 34-year-old Byculla resident.

Bhaskar, who was plunged into the campaign two months before Delhi voted, sent out 100-200 tweets a day.

“We had a different strategy for Facebook,“ he said. “I looked up friends, acquaintances and relatives who had networks in Delhi and used these channels to spread the message,“ he said.


Vishal Dadlani (Composer)

DADLANI scores of virtual fist-bumps when the results of the elections were announced. His associ ation with Kejriwal dates to the India Against Corruption movement. Dadlani lent limbs and mel ody to the AAP crusade ­ he composed the “5 saal Kejriwal“ jingle and paced the streets of the capital cajoling voters. On Tuesday morning, he tweeted a celebratory picture with the reality show host Raghu Ram, who also campaigned for the party, with the message: “Jai Hind to all AAP volun teers who worked 100000 times harder than us!“. “I've had many big hits but 5 saal Kejriwal is the biggest. It is only when citizens stand for their rights that this country will change,“ said Dadlani.


Anjali Damania (RTI activist)

AAP'S former Maharashtra convener was in Delhi for 25 days ­ she quit the party after the 2014 Lok Sabha elections ­ corralling small clusters of volunteers to “storm“ three or four markets a day. “We would tell people that we have only two things to campaign with ­ our honesty and the AAP topi,“ she said. Damania lent her might to the women's rally in Krishna Nagar.


Ayub Khan (Actor)

AYUB Khan, who joined AAP 18 months ago and campaigned unsuccessfully in the Lok Sabha elec tions, landed in Delhi on February 8. “We went on padhyatras, spoke to people in nukkad sabhas and discussed their concerns,“ said Khan. “The key was to offer solutions to their problems and tell them what we stand for.“ Khan said the AAP philosophy was distilled to establishing a dialogue with people and telling them how the party can be a part of the solution for their problems. “The big thing is to establish credibility, from which trust will come,“ said Khan.


I C Rao (Retired Vice Admiral)
IN THE eight days that Rao and his wife Shakuntala spent campaigning for AAP they rang 600 doorbells and met 1,000 people. “We felt that it was a crucial time when people make up their mind. And if we had to make a difference, sitting in Mumbai was not an option,“ said the 78-year-old.

The Raos, in Delhi to support Gulab Singh, the par ty's candidate from Matiala, were politicking for a man who had lost the previous election by 2,800 votes. “Door-to-door campaigning is not just about ringing the bell and handing over a pamphlet. One has to have a dialogue and understand,“ said Rao. Their man won by 47,004 votes.


Raghu Ram (Reality show host)

RAM has campaigned for AAP in all three of its electoral bids. Like his fellow bald-headed Mumbaikar, he issued a truncated, 39-character message of joy on twitter. “It has begun. The revolu tion has begun.“ In a picture he appended to this titbit, Ram is seen with CM designate Arvind Kejriwal, flashing the victory sign.




Mayank Gandhi (Member, AAP's national executive)
GANDHI was entrusted with the party's “buzz campaign“. “At least 5 per cent of the all the votes we got are because of this effort,“ said the 56-year-old resi dent of Parla. Gandhi oversaw the efforts of over 5,000 volunteers who landed in Delhi: they were deployed in markets, shop ping malls and gardens.

On Sunday, they occu pied Connaught Place ­ jumping, prancing, danc ing, and handing out propaganda material. He joined forces with Sanyal to organise the women's rally in Bedi's constituency, Krishna Nagar.


Chiresh Sanghvi (Builder)

SANGHVI, who is from south Mumbai, had 16 days to put together the campaign strategy for AAP's Mehrauli contender, Naresh Yadav.

“Our candidate submitted his papers on the last day that nominations were filed and the odds seemed to be stacked against us,“ Sanghvi said. “We had a budget of Rs 8 lakh and were up against the might of the BJP.But our padyatras and doorto-door campaign turned things in our favour.“ Yadav won by 16,951 votes.


Akshay Marathe (Student)

A 19-YEAR-OLD who studies politi cal science at the South Indian Education Society Sion, Marathe recently took charge of AAP's Maharashtra social media team.

He, along with four others, was responsible for political con tent posted to the party's offi cial national Facebook page (2.4 million followers) for the Delhi elections. “I was in the room when the AAP leadership took the snap decision to reject Imam Bukhari's unsolicited support. I got to take part in political history being made,“ said the Bhandup resident. On a typical day, Marathe, working from the party's Patel Nagar office, published at least 50 posts to AAP's Facebook page.