NRIs excited by AAP success
People of Indian origin overseas, long used to engaging with established parties like the Congress or BJP, have been watching keenly the AAP story unfold in Indian politics.
Karan Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beer and member of UK’s House of Lords, believes that the electoral success of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi elections is a vote for India’s vibrant democracy.
“Political experts around the world have followed the success story of AAP and Arvind Kejriwal and the big electoral success within such a short time. For us in the UK, it showed us how vibrant and strong the Indian democracy is,” Bilimoria told ET Magazine at the annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, the event for Indians overseas, in New Delhi.
For many people of Indian origin overseas, who are prominent in public life in their host countries, AAP’s success has been truly inspiring. “My own political journey is that of a first-generation immigrant and has been a very tough one.
That the party formed the government in Delhi within a year of being launched proves to me and many of my colleagues in New Zealand the power of the vote and the Indian voter to bring about change,” says Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi, a Delhi businessman who immigrated to New Zealand about a decade ago and is now a member of parliament from the National Party.
He is the only person of Indian origin in the Kiwi parliament. For Upendra Giri, a Washington DC-based entrepreneur, who also runs operations in Noida, the fight against corruption in India strikes a chord. “For many of us who have start-ups in the US and have set up operations in India, corruption in the system is a serious problem and the AAP’s efforts to tackle this issue are holding out hope,” he says.
Canadian MP and minister of state for sports, Bal Gosal, an immigrant from Punjab, however, says the rise of AAP is a local Indian phenomenon and doesn’t actually have a global fallout. “In Canada, for instance, corruption is tackled by the government and people are punished for corrupt practices. The government runs in a very transparent manner and anti-corruption could never become the electoral slogan for a new political party,” he told ET Magazine.