Supporters of the Aam Aadmi Party in the United States were elated after
Arvind Kejriwal was sworn in as
Delhi’s chief minister last week,
following the impressive showing by the party in the
December state assembly election.
“We are all delighted that the
AAP team has come to power in
Delhi, and is keen on fulfilling
their campaign promises,”
Abhay Bhushan, a California-based AAP supporter, told India
About 40 non-resident
Indians traveled to India to volunteer in the Delhi assembly
election and Bhushan was one
He also visited cities across
the country and found that people in Bengaluru, Goa and
Ahmedabad — besides Delhi —
were very enthusiastic about the
“The free water promise has
already been fulfilled by putting
an order in place for those who
have connections. Basically people who conserve get free water.
Those who consume more pay the full
price and a little more. The math is all
worked out,” Bhushan said. “Now the sys-
tem will be more fair.”
Bhushan had hosted several meetings at
Stanford University and the University of
California Berkeley to attract overseas sup-
port for the party. He said he would keep
building on its present momentum.
“The AAP global volunteers team in the
US has doubled since the Delhi election,
and we will continue to help the party in
the Lok Sabha election. Many see a ray of
hope for India for the first time,” Bhushan
“The AAP is not a regional party. Its
decentralized structure to the very grass-
roots level is very different from the cen-
tralized command and control of the behe-
moth parties people are used to.”
He added that volunteers would contin-
ue with their efforts to get more funds for
In the Delhi assembly election, overseas
Indians contributed 30 percent of the total
AAP funds. Donations can only be contributed by Indian citizens, whether living
in India or abroad.
An Indian passport is a requirement if
overseas Indians wish to contribute.
“But NRIs can contribute in time and
volunteer and even campaign in India.
They can spread the word for the AAP, and
urge their friends and relatives in India to
contribute,” Bhushan added.
Another volunteer Pran Kurup said that
the doubts people had about the AAP, were
put to rest after the Delhi win.
“A change in the people’s mindset is being
reflected as more and more people are stepping forward to join the party and donate
on their own,” he added.
AAP volunteers across the world meet
online to discuss and plan how they can
assist the party, Kurup said.
“People have started to believe that
change is possible in India. That is a huge
beginning and the AAP has been the cata-
lyst for this change,” Kurup said.
“The AAP’s opponents have been proved
wrong at every stage. First, they said the
party did not have money to fight elections.
The AAP raised money through a transpar-
ent, open, mechanism and fought the elec-
tion without the use of black money.”
“Then they said, the AAP couldn’t win
elections. Yet, the AAP met with unprecedented electoral success. Then they said the
AAP had no experience. Kejriwal’s team
has already acted on its election promises
in a matter of days since taking oath. Now
naysayers question the AAP’s ability to go
nationwide. Time will tell. But clearly
momentum is on our side.”
SUMAN GUHA MOZUMDER
Chandrakant Patel, who took over as president of the Overseas Friends of BJP in USA January 1, says his priority would be to help the Bharatiya Janata Party get
272+ seats for an absolute majority in
India’s summer general election.
During the annual OFBJP national con-
vention at Tampa, Florida, in September
2013, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate
Narendra Modi had addressed members
through a video conference and urged the
OFBJP workers to visit the web site
www.272.com to help the party win the
“In order to fulfill that goal, I have already
appointed election committees at the
national level,” Patel told India Abroad.
“These committees include not only our
OFBJP office bearers and active members,
but also eminent community leaders from
across the United States. We are conduct-
ing chapter-wise and committee-wise
meetings, bringing around all interested
people. My focus is to bring in more youth
into the organizational fold.”
The OFBJP has printed postcards high-
lighting the achievements of the National
Democratic Alliance government versus
the ‘mis-governance of United Progressive
Alliance 1 and 2’ in terms of inflation,
falling growth rate, currency depreciation,
and exports, among others.
“We are also writing chain letters to
friends and families back home. Our volun-
teers are also making hundreds of phone
calls to garner support for the party,” he
said. “The volunteers are extremely active
on social media.”
Patel practiced law in India before arriv-
ing in America 25 years ago.
Asked how he proposed to unify the fac-tion-ridden OFBJP, Patel said, “All issues
were settled three years ago by BJP leaders
and a process was established for the proper functioning of the organization.
The media may still have this perception
of having factions from earlier years, but
there has been a united OFBJP at least
OFBJP whips up support for Modi
slotted the AAP as a
but its funding
pattern revealed that
only 20 percent or
$750,000 to AAP’s
total collections of
about $3.5 million.
percent — about $1
million — while the
rest came from
across the country
An Aam Aadmi Party supporter cheers after Arvind Kejriwal’s swearing-in in Delhi, December 28.
AAP volunteers in the US
double after Delhi election