MUMBAI: As a fledgling party which emerged from the larger ‘India against Corruption’ movement, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had already captured a nation’s imagination.
But when it made a splash at the Delhi Assembly Elections, going on to form the government in the national capital, it made seasoned politicians sit up and take notice as well.
And just in case you thought there was no public relations mechanism behind the phenomenal success of AAP, you couldn’t be more wrong. The party has been a magnet for media professionals ever since its inception with many known names coming forward to support it and in some cases, even going on to join politics.
For instance, the media campaign for the Jan Lokpal Bill was the brain child of former media professional Shaizia Ilmi. Manish Sisodia, who played a key role in the foundation of the anti corruption bill and went to jail with activist Anna Hazare is a former journalist who worked with Zee News and All India Radio. Ditto for Rajan Prakash, who worked as a journalist in TV, print and radio for more than a decade apart from helping write the scripts of over 12 documentaries as well as radio programmes before finding his political calling. At 26, former journalist Rakhi Birla, who won Delhi’s Mangol Puri constituency, is the only woman in Arvind Kejriwal’s cabinet and the youngest one at that. The much talked about addition to AAP has been that of Ashutosh, former IBN7 managing editor who left a high-profile job to join the party.
So what is it about AAP that is encouraging the media fraternity to enter the political circus?
“It’s their honesty which I support,” says Leo Burnett NCD K V Sridhar (Pops) who tweeted and facebooked his support to AAP and joined it through its massive ‘Mai bhi Aam Admi’ campaign that lets anyone be a part of the ‘change’. “Until and unless they make mistakes or become like the others, they have my support,” he adds.
Former COO of Star Network now turned media entrepreneur Sameer Nair, who joined AAP last year, believes any professional with the right principles would support the party. “We all want corporate governance, financial stability, anti corruption amongst all the correct ingredients to run the country in a better way,” he says, pointing out that the Right to Recall is a basic right as one shouldn’t take his/her seat lightly once elected for five years by the junta. “Every day, media professionals walk into the AAP office to support it or help in whatever way they can. We need such enthusiasm from people,” Nair says, stressing that the party needs the expertise of professionals from all walks of life to work together and create a better nation.
Political analyst Dr Suhas Palshikar feels AAP is a refreshing change from the rest. “There are many who want to see a change in the country and the new party brings with it new ideas. It has provided people, especially the middle class, a platform to be part of a change and voice their opinion,” he says.
Writer-entrepreneur-youth expert Rashmi Bansal, who met Kejriwal in 2009 and featured him in her 2011 book ‘I have a Dream’ feels that media professionals have a close-up view of such issues which is why they get more drawn to it. “Media professionals know what goes on behind the scenes and they see AAP as a different entity which will not only hear them but also give them a voice and a platform to make the change they want to see,” she says.
And the list of supporters keeps growing... Late Jaspal Bhatti’s wife Savita Bhatti, Mallika Sarabhai, Tejaswini Kolhapure, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan all believe the party can bring about a change...