‘We do not want to be another IITian adventure like Kejriwal’

It was in the summer of 2015 when Naveen Kumar, fresh out of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Delhi, decided to head back to his home State of Bihar and campaign for the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) between Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Janata Dal United (JD-U) and the Congress as he believed it would bring in social justice. His experience while working for the campaign, he says, was an eye-opener. But what happened afterwards left him disillusioned.

‘Hurt and cheated’

“I worked very hard for the campaign, and visited every nook and corner of Bihar to spread Mr. Prasad’s message that he would bring in social change and that no person would have to migrate from Bihar in order to find a job. But after all that effort when the alliance came to power, all promises were forgotten. I felt let down, hurt and cheated,” said Naveen.

It was this experience that he shared with several other like-minded IITians, who then decided to leave their jobs and preparations for the Civil Services examination to form the Bahujan Azad Party (BAP).

“We are 50 like-minded students, mostly from IIT, who decided to work full-time to start a youth-based revolution that will work towards a better society for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. A society in which their full potential will be utilised and there will be no discrimination,” he added.

On comparisons with IIT alumnus, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who set out to change the image of a political party by forming the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Naveen said, “We do not want to be another IITian adventure like Mr. Kejriwal, who has deceived people with his agenda. We want only those people to join us who truly believe that they have the energy to work towards being masters of the nation and not slaves.”

Applied for registration

Party members said although they have little political experience, they have applied for registration as a political party with he Election Commission and plan to make their debut in the 2020 Bihar elections.

“We have started at the block level and have found a lot of support from people who have lost faith in the current lot of political parties. It is these people who will spread our message,” said Naveen.

Sarkar Akhilesh, from IIT Kharagpur, said what pushed him to dedicate himself full-time to politics was not one incident in particular but his entire childhood.

“I grew up in a village in Bihar which had poor education facilities, healthcare and no social justice. After coming to IIT, I realised that cast-based discrimination was prevalent not only in my village but across India and even in the private sector,” said Sarkar.

He said one of the agendas of the BAP will be to call for reservation in the private and corporate sector.

“If you study the judiciary and the bureaucracy, you will see that very few people in high positions are from backward castes. Even in corporate offices, people are given promotions based on their surname,” said Sarkar, promising that his party will work to bring in a just society for people from backward castes who are unable to show their full potential.

Life of dignity

When it comes to funding, Naveen said they have received support from their alumni and as of now their expenses are being covered by people who invite them to villages to hold rallies to talk about how in the current political scenario no party is letting those from the SC/ST and OBC communities live a life of dignity.

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 12:56:11 am |