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

5 Responses to “Dear Arvind”

  1. Prasenjit says:

    Very well written and I agree on your statement.

  2. ram says:

    Alok what is never palpable which is the difficult thing to do is to remain committed to the path – the ability to be fearless and spirit of service. Our entire background in the middle class and the education system does not train us to be fearless and also the ability to be at it..also leading and generating mass movements have so many dimensions to that no business leader can replicate. Since so many of the icons in the past two decades have been business icons, but when it comes to public service..there are so many stakeholders. Also one of the lynchpins of our entire establishment is the bureaucracy. You might have a fantastic politician but the execution is done there. I have had my own experience in selling Pawan at the government when i met through Shyam Benegal – Four chief ministers who were excited and by the time it reached the bureaucrats..these implementation vanishes. But in the case of UP, a dynamic bureaucrat bought into it and it happened without any politician in the process.

    What i truly appreciate in Arvind Kejriwal and his core team is their fearlessness in the pursuit of truth. It is a quality that is so hard to instill.

  3. Hi Alok,

    Iv known you as a professional for about 2 years. This is my first ever comment on any of your blogs and it comes straight from the heart.

    Every word of it I relate with. When I started supporting AAP, I got questioned left, right and center. Iv never met Arvind, but a man who can go on national television and speak with such humility stating, the past 2 months have taught me to be more patient, sure there’s change.

    This is a massive shift. AAP will be brilliant as an opposition. For the longest time in my life, Iv considered politics as a gutter, if no less. But as Arvind said, its not bad, its been made to be like that. It was a mind shift for me right at that moment.

    I relate to it so closely that I can’t put it to words 100%. I hear Arvind as someone creating a culture, its not a movement, its culture. Its how a startup with a team of 3, working without salaries grows to understand what falling in love with what you do means. Arvind, AAP I am sure are creating just that. Its love.

    You’ve been an entrepreneur yourself, not advice, but my honest INR2 will be, for AAP to now establish solid leadership, which takes the wisdom of the crowds in consideration, but takes decisions, while building on their mandate.

    And if they fail at any stage, go back to people. Engage people. A billion can’t fail together.

    There’s freshness and I wish the aam aadmi all inspiration, grit and determination to set new standards and change India and the World!

    Jai Hind!

  4. Rajeev Shukla says:

    Arvind’s accomplishment, given the situation in the country and its politics is of scale which can not be measured easily.

    What ‘AAP’ has done in one year should be role model for every leadership course worth its dime. It is an exemplary display of resolve, perseverance, planning, keeping-head-grounded and most of all flawless execution.

    The big question now is, ‘How does ‘AAP’ transitions from a super worthy opponent to ruling party to a problem solving political entity. ‘AAP’ has the risk of loosing itself in the overwhelming scale of opportunity and optimism.

    Loads of movements in India, resulted into the political outfits, which raised valid issues. And, on occasions when those issues were the most prominent of the times, those political parties were given an opportunity to be the change agent for the country and generation.

    Problem with most of the parties/movements is, the transition from being a positive movement/party to solution finder and provider is a tough one. ‘AAP’ has huge task ahead of making that transition happen. And, this transition is not something which can be done by motivating people only. This is one task, where organizational capabilities, thought frameworks, problem identification and solution building abilities need to be created/build. And, they need to be done fast.

    ‘AAP’ as a party will need extraordinary support from people of India, specifically enabled and aware masses of India, to help them make this transition.

    ‘AAP’ needs to transition itself into doing ‘Politics of Solutions’ from ‘Politics of Problems’

    Rajeev Shukla

  5. Satya Prakash Ranjan says:

    Congrats to Arvind and his team. This does instill confidence in the electorate and common man. The road ahead is arduous, but the answer is Arvind’s style: keeping it simple, being fearless, involving a large set of people in decision making.

    As AAP and like minded parties grow, there would be unintentional mistakes, maybe even some corrupt guys getting in. As long as the charter remains to course correct quickly and accept mistakes when there is one, it will continue to usher the change we need.
    God bless Arvind, AAP, like minded parties like Lok Satta, others who are playing a similar change in existing parties and the people of this country.

    There hasn’t been a similar incident in last few years which makes me feel proud of India and Indians.

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