A note of appreciation

A note of appreciation

Alok Mittal, Managing Director, Canaan Advisors India, a leading venture capital firm, congratulates Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of the Aam Aadmi Party, following his party’s performance at the New Delhi elections held this year



Dear Arvind, 

Congratulations. For reinstating the faith of the people in 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, seven years ago, in East Delhi, during your Parivartan days (a movement focused on assisting citizens in navigating income tax, electricity and food ration issues in parts of New Delhi). I also remember your gracious acceptance of our invitation to visit Gurgaon and share your work. I remember you as 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 New Delhi elections within 14 months of forming AAP. And, I remember my refrain and caution at every step along the way. Thank you for ignoring me. I am your Aam Aadmi.

In leading AAP to the second highest votes during the New 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 in the past, but failed to create mass impact. In my lifetime, Jayaprakash Narayan from Lok Satta would rank at the top of that list, but no less other people who captured the public mood and anger. By channelising the anger of the masses into a constructive movement, you have shown a path for change agents of the future. Movements come and go, but beliefs persist. Thank you for reinstating our belief in democracy.

Few months ago, as I started to speak actively to my friends about supporting AAP, I found a wide variety of objections, within me, and outside. These varied from differences in policy underpinnings, to allegations of appeasement politics, to sheer inexperience. For the 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 have myself 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 also in redefining the politics and behavior of other parties. Signs of that are visible today. Even if the BJP forms the government in New Delhi, we will have a far better CM than what 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 advice, and whose evening passion is to invest as an angel investor, it would be hard for me to steer clear of giving advice, even as I 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 you 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, your immediate task, as mandated by the people, is to redefine “opposition”. And now, you have the opportunity to do it in front a party, which has synonymised opposition with strikes, for the past two years. Please do not hide under conventional politics and say 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

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