Aam Aadmi Party founder Arvind Kejriwal reached out to Indian Americans in the Bay Area via videoconference last week.
The anti-corruption activist-turned politician spoke about the upcoming Delhi assembly election and said his main aim would be to provide a corruption-free government and focus on education and health.
“Educated and healthy Indians will be instrumental in taking India forward,” he added
There was a huge difference between the quality of private and public education in India, he pointed out, and said private schools in the country needed to be regulated.
He also stressed on the need for better health-care facilities in Delhi.
He urged the community to donate their time and money and call people in India to vote for the AAP and spread the word on the Internet.
Pran Kurup, coordinator, AAP San Francisco Bay Area, told Rediff.com that the party had created a lot of positive buzz among desis. Many also took off time from their weekend schedules to spread word about the event.
“In this day and age when people are so hard pressed for time, these gestures simply add up to create momentum,” Kurup said.
Kejriwal’s "honesty, simplicity and relentless efforts to change Indian politics despite odds draws people to him,” Kurup said.
“When was the last time India had a political leader who said I don’t care if you vote for my party, but please go and vote?”
Suchithra Ramaswamy, who participated in the videoconference, told Rediff.com, adding that live interaction with Kejriwal was an excellent idea.
“I think it was a good platform to connect with expatriates. It helped address some lingering questions in people’s minds,” she said, though she felt the meeting could have been longer.
She added that Indian Americans could help AAP by spreading the party’s message.
“I hope AAP wins and if they do, it would largely be achieved through word of mouth publicity,” Ramaswamy added.
Kaviraj Chopra, at whose house over 20 people gathered to interact with Kejriwal, helped raise $500 (about Rs 30,595).
“The session was thought provoking,” said Chopra, adding that some of his friends had little knowledge about Indian politics but and they thought Kejriwal was a good leader.
Images (top): Indian American students listen to Arvind Kejriwal’s videoconference at the University of Berkeley (bottom) students listen to Kejriwal at the University of Maryland