Arvind Kejriwal, National Convener of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), addressed a global audience of 11000
Silicon Valley, California, USA (October 21, 2013): This was an unusual Sunday evening for many Indians in the US and Canada. Instead of settling down and gearing up for the week ahead, several thousands of Indians were participating in a Google Hangout with Arvind Kejriwal.
Kejriwal in his simplistic and down to earth style, outlined his views on AAP, its vision, and plans for the upcoming elections in Delhi. He complimented the volunteers and donors for their support to AAP. And, later reiterated the importance of sustaining higher levels of support in all forms - time, talent and financial contributions. He then addressed top questions that some of the attendees had submitted. The organizers had received over 250 questions from over 300 people.
"It is heartening and humbling to know that people of Indian origin from across the globe care so deeply about bringing change to Indian politics. The questions indicated a deep understanding of the issues and genuine concern for India. Delhi is just the start. I see this movement to transform Indian politics gaining greater momentum after the Delhi elections," said Arvind Kejriwal. He also stressed the importance of creating a simplified set of rules to encourage businesses and entrepreneurship. In response to a question on programs for the youth, he identified education, employment and sports as three priority areas.
In a space of few months, AAP's following has spread rapidly to include a fairly wide spectrum ranging from professionals to college students. "Arvind is a source of inspiration for volunteers, donors and supporters of AAP around the world. The Hangout was a wonderful opportunity for the supporters and their friends and family to hear directly from Arvind." said, Shail Kumar, co-organizer of the Hangout with Arvind. "We are delighted by the response to the Hangout with Arvind, which was viewed by people of Indian origin in over 100 cities across four continents. Several hundred volunteers, donors and supporters hosted the Hangout at their home, including students in over 25 universities. Some of these universities include UC Berkeley, UT Austin, Texas A&M, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, Boston University and MIT." he added.
Clearly, Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi party seems to have struck a chord with the non-resident community and many see it as a ray of hope for a better India. "This hangout really helped us reach out to our network of friends and sensitize them to the impending changes in Indian politics pioneered by AAP. I am glad Mr. Kejriwal took the time to participate in this hangout despite his busy schedule. Seeing him address issues first hand was truly refreshing and inspiring." - said Maya Vishwakarma, organizer for the San Francisco Bay Area based volunteers for AAP. She hosted a hangout with her husband, friends and family. Maya grew up in Mehragoan, Madhya Pradesh in India and is currently based in Fremont, California.
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About Aam Aadmi Party (AAP): AAP was formally launched in November 2012 and Arvind Kejriwal is AAP’s National Convener. AAP is contesting its first election – the assembly elections in Delhi in December 2013. In less than a year AAP has gained significant momentum to become a key player in this election. AAP’s agenda for Delhi includes implementation of Jan Lokpal, reduction in price of electricity and water, large-scale improvements in government schools and hospitals, improvements in women’s safety and implementation of political decentralization or Swaraj. AAP is funded entirely by donations from people most of whom contribute online on the party’s website. Every single donation to the party is accounted for and the party also releases its income/expense statement. Its candidates are selected through a unique and open process. More information about AAP can be found at http://www.aamaadmiparty.org
About Arvind Kejriwal: Arvind Kejriwal completed his undergraduate in Mechanical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur. He later joined the India Revenue Service after qualifying through the Civil Services Examination. In February 2006, he resigned from his position of Joint Commissioner in the Income Tax Department. In December 1999, while he was still in service with the Income Tax Department, he helped found an NGO named Parivartan (which means change), focused on assisting citizens, especially the poor in navigating income tax, electricity and food ration matters in parts of Delhi. He spent extensive efforts to educate people on the RTI and was instrumental in the RTI Act which was passed by the India parliament in 2005. He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Emergent Leadership in 2006. He donated his Magsaysay award money as a corpus fund to found an NGO, Public Cause Research Foundation. In 2011, NDTV awarded him the Indian of the year award along with Anna Hazare. Prior to this he has won numerous awards over the years - Ashoka Fellow award in 2004 for Civic Engagement, the Satyendra K. Dubey Memorial Award from IIT Kanpur for his campaign for bringing transparency in Government, and the CNN-IBN, Indian of the Year for Public Service in 2006, to name a few.