Aam workers quit, loyal ones stay put

Aam workers quit, loyal ones stay put

Supporters do not know what the future holds for party, and this is pulling them apart

Can you find me a job anywhere? My typing speed is good,” Ajay Kumar, an Aam Aadmi Party volunteer asked this reporter in April this year after  taking him aside. Kumar was campaigning for the party’s West Delhi candidate Jarnail Singh.

He said his parents have had enough of campaigning and politics and they wanted him to settle down in life. “There is nothing much for common volunteers in all this.

Pet nahi bharne wala (It won’t fill the stomach),” he appeared to agree with his parents.
Another volunteer Rohit Singh, who had taken long leave from work to campaign for the party, returned to his job soon after the election results were announced.

“I would give my all if the party was at least taking the right decisions and still losing. But it made no sense that Arvind Kejriwal contested against Narendra Modi when he could have fought from a safer seat and increased AAP’s representation in Parliament,” he says, adding that he isn't considering  returning to the party as of now.

With the party not doing as well as it had claimed it would in the Lok Sabha polls, several volunteers have either quit or returned to their regular jobs with assurances that they would be back to serve once Delhi Assembly elections are announced.

But most of the “active volunteers” continue to serve the party, says Puneet Tiwary, a 24-year-old who quit a multinational company to work for AAP.

“Some who joined the party with personal ambitions and selfish motives have left. Some others have taken a break after the hectic campaigning,” says Tiwary.

Prodded about his own future, he says the senior leaders will notice his loyalty during these critical times and give him “more responsibility”.

As of now, he is not thinking of taking up a job for at least a year. “I will make the party stand on its own feet again before I think of my own future,” he says.

Ticket seekers

Deccan Herald came across a few more volunteers at the party office in Connaught Place who said they were hoping their loyalty would be rewarded.

One volunteer, with AAP for a year now, dreams of someday contesting the Assembly elections. “Either on AAP ticket or as an independent,” he says as a fellow volunteer nudges him, apparently warning him against sharing too much with a reporter.

Taking the cue, he quickly adds he would himself never ask the party for a ticket.

“But I am sure they will consider me one day. If the situation arises, I might even contest as an independent.”

His wife and brothers have been persuading him to return to a normal life and take up a regular job, but the volunteer won’t relent.

Manish Sisodia’s associate Amardeep Tiwari, a former journalist, says he would think of starting a business venture or taking up a job only after the party has dealt with its current problems.

Money has never been a priority for him and his family has offered all support, he claims.

“A few have left the party. Some who had taken leave from work have decided to give lesser time to the party for now.But I am staying with the party. This is not the time to run from the battlefield,” says Tiwari, adding that his journalism experience has shown him that there is always an opportunity for political parties to bounce back.

Staunch volunteers who quit soon after the Lok Sabha election results say “mismanagement” in the party led to their decision.

Sangram Singh, who joined the party a few weeks before the start of elections, is among those.

Thankful to the party for the opportunities it gave him to attempt to bring about change and still convinced that the AAP did well for a beginner, he says the volunteers were left directionless in many parts of the country.

Singh campaigned for AAP candidate Gul Panag in Chandigarh and says Kejriwal’s directions never reached the party workers there.

“Soon after the election results came, he chose to go to jail, leaving the volunteers directionless,” he says.

Tiwari, meanwhile, says many volunteers may be disappointed, but their sympathies are with the party.

“They still see Kejriwal as an option.”