Archive for December, 2013

Dear Arvind

Congratulations. For reinstating faith of people in a democracy. For painting a vision of governance in India. For redefining the politics of the country.

I still vividly remember my first meeting with you in East Delhi during your Parivartan days, about 7 years back, and your gracious acceptance of our invitation to come to Gurgaon and share your work. I remember your being a soldier in the Anna movement, and the brickbats that flew when you decided to lead a political party. I remember your decision to contest all 70 seats in the Delhi elections within 14 months of forming AAP. And I remember my refrain and caution every step along the way. Thanks for ignoring me. I am your aam aadmi.

In leading AAP to the highest votes in Delhi elections, you have brought about tremendous change. I also want to thank you for a few other changes you have brought about, which might be less evident, but certainly are equally profound.

Thank you for instilling self-confidence in the Indian electorate. We have been jaded by great people who showed a glimmer of hope, but failed to make mass impact. In my lifetime, JP from Loksatta would rank at the top of that list, but no less other people who captured the public mood and anger. By channelizing the anger of masses into a constructive movement, you have shown a path for change agents of the future. Movements come and go, beliefs persist. Thank you for reinstating our belief in democracy.

Few months back, as I started to speak actively to my friends about supporting AAP, I found a wide variety of objections. Within me, and outside. These ranged from differences in policy underpinnings, to allegations of appeasement politics, to sheer inexperience. For past many decades, the argumentative Indian has used these nuances to fall back into inaction. Your call motivated us to find common ground, rather than to focus on tactical differences. This has been a personal revelation as I myself have navigated these conflicts in my mind. Thank you for helping find common ground in a country as diverse as India.

I have believed that the real change that AAP can bring is not just in being a successful party, but by redefining politics and behavior of other parties. Signs of that are visible today. Even if the BJP forms the government in Delhi, we will have a far better CM than we were staring at 60 days back. Congress has promised to introspect, and I am sure somewhere someday, their internal voice will speak. Thank you for not just being a game player, but being a game changer.

As someone whose day job as a venture capitalist is to provide advise, and whose evening passion is to invest as an angel investor, it would be hard for me to stray clear of providing advise, even as I myself admit that you have done a great job by ignoring it in the past! Your humility, even when we met yesterday in euphoric circumstances, is a trait your must hold on to dearly. Power has a way of instilling arrogance. I also believe that just like you have redefined politics, and you seek to redefine governance, it seems that the immediate task you have been mandated by the people is to redefine “opposition” – and what better opportunity to do it in front of a party which has taken opposition to mean strikes for past two years. Please do not hide under the conventional politics of saying that you don’t have the mandate. You have a mandate, and you must fulfill it.

Once again, congratulations, and let’s get back to work.

Yours truly

Alok Mittal