The unbelievable success of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi assembly elections has generated much curiosity among people, who were hitherto reluctant to involve themselves in politics.
Now, attracted by AAP’s brand of politics, more than 50 students from various colleges across the country have chosen to intern with the party’s Maharashtra unit.
Ankit Pai, 21, a final year B Tech (electronics) student at Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, started a month-long internship with AAP on Dec 15.
“It’s my winter break. I was keen to see how AAP works, particularly after its amazing success in Delhi,” said Ankit, who has been assigned to the electoral department that analyzes booth-wise details, which information will be handy for the party’s candidates in the forthcoming elections.
Ankit had to go through a tough selection process that tested his capabilities and skills in an interview and a group discussion. He will go back to his studies on January 15. But the experience has made such an impact that he is contemplating joining the party after he completes his engineering course.
Kiran Achari, 22, who is a management graduate from Mumbai University, is with AAP’s media cell. While he runs a start-up and pursues a diploma, he is one of six interns learning to deal with media persons.
Pranjal Deshmukh, 21, is also in the electoral department which has completed an analysis of the six Lok Sabha constituencies in Mumbai and the more than 280 assembly constituencies in Maharashtra.
“I preferred AAP to an engineering firm because I wanted to learn leadership skills, people management and the dynamics of politics,” said Pranjal. She is one of three students from the Institute of Chemical Technology in Matunga and wishes to pursue an MBA after her B Tech (pharmaceutical sciences) course this year.
AAP started admitting interns only last month. “They are hardworking and committed,” said a party official. They are not earning anything and they say it doesn’t matter.
“We are here not to earn money but to get good experience. This platform gives us a chance to meet people from different walks of life who come with varied experiences,” said Shahnawaz Patel, 24, who completed his BBA from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management a year ago and now manages a start-up.
Patel believes that AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal has a fresh ideology that is a change the people have been seeking for long. “I found AAP’s ideology different from other parties that are traditional and unappealing to youngsters like me,” he said.
While the student wings of the major parties conduct membership drives to build their numbers, with little by way of a programme for the youngsters, AAP is doing even this very differently. “The interns have time-bound targets to achieve. The team leaders are young too. The positive energy is a boost to the synergy,” said Pranjal.