Assembly polls in five states are nearing and parties are busy in making strategy with their leaders, workers and supporters looking to ensure their victory. Aam Admi Party (AAP) too is doing the same and it has reposed its faith in its overseas supporters. NRI volunteers have thronged to AAP office over the last fortnight to back the campaign for the elections. People from across the world are reaching Delhi to support AAP, no matter that the cause costs them their high-paid jobs or they have to get by ‘without pay’.
All political parties including major ones, BJP and Congress, are in the fray in the crucial Assembly election as they are viewed as the ‘semifinal’ of General elections in 2019 and AAP is preparing to give a strong jolt to others. That’s why it is calling all supporters to campaign in favour of it. The first batch of NRI volunteers of the party came to Delhi from Canada on Thursday. They were welcomed by the Delhi unit convenor Dilip Pandey at the party office on Rouse Avenue near ITO.
Pandey, who quit his high-paying job as an IT professional in Hong Kong to join the Anna Movement in 2011, recalled his journey into politics before them. Over the next two hours, Pandey also made calls to party volunteers, who are waiting at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, along with Deputy CM Manish Sisodia, AAP Overseas Convenor Kumar Vishwas and a few MLAs, to receive the team that has booked out an entire flight to campaign for the party in poll-bound states.
— AAP (@AamAadmiParty) January 18, 2017
“The first time I came from the UK to volunteer for the party and entered the Delhi office, there was no one I knew. I felt a little lost. But when these NRI volunteers arrive today, the grand welcome will boost their morale,” says Arun Kumar, an NRI supporter. AAP Overseas Wing co-convenor Adarsh Shastri claims over 10,000 NRIs are expected to come in over the next 10 days to canvass for the party.
At the IGI Airport, as the first batch of volunteers arrive, Sisodia, Vishwas, Shastri, cabinet minister Imran Hussain, Tilak Nagar MLA Jarnail Singh, Somnath Bharti rush in to greet them. Volunteers hurriedly pull out yellow marigold garlands and a couple of Bhangra dancers in full gear break into a gig.
The volunteers arrived at the party office on Rouse Avenue near ITO thereafter in luxury buses at 4.30 am and Jarnail Singh sticks to fluent Punjabi for his welcome address, while Vishwas and Pandey compared the canvassing to the struggle of freedom fighters. “I have been driving a truck in Toronto for 15 years and have taken a long break for six weeks just to campaign for the party in Moga, my hometown,” said Harpal Sidhu, a volunteer. Padam Sandhu, a chemical engineer who has lived in Canada for nine years, said, “This election is really important to us. If the political system changes in Punjab, it would mean we could return home.”