AAP ticket hopeful Jyoti Bansal says she has dedicated her life to the country

Thursday’s Champions Trophy semi-final between India and Sri Lanka was of no consequence to 32-year-old Jyoti Bansal from East Delhi’s Krishna Nagar. Like most Indians, she too was once addicted to the sport, but recently decided to give up watching the game altogether. “Why do we feel patriotic only when we watch cricket?” she asked, glancing at the men in blue on television.

Jyoti arrived in the Capital from Melbourne, Australia – her current residence – a day after Terminal 3 of Indira Gandhi International Airport was inundated with rainwater. An apt introduction to the city after a six-month break given that she was here to be interviewed as a potential candidate for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to contest from the Krishna Nagar constituency. “When I first moved to Australia with my husband last December, I looked around and thought why can’t my country look as beautiful as this?” she recollected. “I felt all our problems are because of bad politics and we have to work towards changing that.”

As a person who used to “hate politics”, Jyoti was initially drawn to the anti-corruption movement that sprouted in early 2011. “I was working in Chennai at that time and news about various scams was trickling in. I was very distressed. Around that time, the anti-corruption movement began and I could identify with it,” she said.

By the time her birthday came around in August that year, Jyoti had moved to Pune and decided to dedicate the day to the country. “I took leave from my office and joined in the protest that was taking place in the heart of the city.”

Jyoti then started working directly with AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, answering helplines, doing data entry, sorting out mail and attending local meetings. Her association with the party continued even after her move to Australia where she answered official mail, created awareness among NRIs and set up AAP teams in all major cities. “Yet, I felt like I was working passively when I was capable of much more. So I decided to dedicate myself to my country and submitted my nomination papers last month,” she said.

With the party’s resolve to opt for “clean candidates”, Jyoti has already been scrutinised through the eyes of her neighbours and fellow party workers in her constituency. This weekend, she will give a speech in front of locals in Krishna Nagar and votes will be cast based on her performance. “The selected candidates will then appear before a political affairs committee.”

Jyoti’s education in a Hindi-medium government school led to an inferiority complex while she studied with English-speaking classmates at Delhi University. This experience and an overwhelming “patriotic feeling” has led to her political choices. “Whether I am given a ticket or not, I will stay here till the elections,” she said.

More In: Delhi