India’s AAP volunteers introspect poll defeat

New Delhi, India – Nandan Mishra, a software engineer, spent one Sunday two weeks ago speaking with residents of south Delhi, a posh area of India’s capital, about how they wanted to use public funds in their neighbourhoods.

Involving people in decision-making is a goal of the anti-corruption Aam Aadmi Party, which is inspired from freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of “Swaraj” or self-governance.

It was close to midnight when Mishra, a graduate of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, took the metro home. On the way, he joked about finding out how late the trains run in the capital city.

“A short man with hope in his eyes” is how the 25-year-old remembered his first sighting of Arvind Kejriwal, 45, leader of the Aam Aadmi, or the common man, Party.

Mishra left a lucrative job in a bank to join the party last year. He used his skills as a musician to lead the “Play for Change” singing campaign before the Delhi elections in December. Mishra was attacked while campaigning in the northern city of Varanasi, where Kejriwal contested against Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party – now India’s prime minister.

“I got punched five times in the face by the BJP supporters”, he said. “I’m from a middle class family, who think I’m a failure. But life is really all about changing things”…read it at Al Jazeera.

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