Eight youths armed with degrees from top universities in the world make up the team that is helping the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) prepare a document that will be a precursor to the party’s election manifesto for the 2017 Punjab elections.
The group reports to the chairman of the Delhi Dialogue Commission, Ashish Khetan, through the convenor of its Punjab Intellectual Cell, R R Bhardwaj. Constituted recently, the group has been working quietly behind the scenes, consulting with experts on education, agriculture, health, drugs, social sciences and all other walks of life.
They have been collating data and getting ready with solutions to the problems, at minimum cost and time, ahead of AAP’s initiation of Punjab Dialogue, a precursor to its poll manifesto.
The youngest in the group is Raghu Mahajan (27), a PhD candidate pursuing theoretical physics at Stanford University. The other Stanford graduate is Roshan Shankar, who had helped AAP in preparing the blue print for its Delhi Dialogue, during elections in the national capital.
The group coordinator is Gagandeep Singh Chadda, an engineering graduate who is an education consultant in Patiala. Other members of the group include Mohd Ovais, a manager in a leading US bank in Mumbai; Gurvinder Birring, an MBA from Oxford University; Arun Khanna, the oldest at 42 years and a vice-president in a Japanese company; PHR Virendra, a graduate from Cambridge University and Dinesh Chadha, an RTI activist from Punjab.
The team members volunteered after AAP’s national organisational building head, Durgesh Pathak, floated his requirement of a team on social media. The men were interviewed and taken on board after they agreed to work voluntarily, Pathak said.
“We pick an issue, study it from all perspectives and then study the solutions available at the international level. After that, we come up with the cheapest and least time consuming solution. These solutions would be AAP’s promises to the people during the Punjab Dialogue , besides finding a way into the party’s manifesto,” said Gurvinder Singh, one of the team members, adding none of them was a policy expert.
He said they work for free. “In fact, a few of us spend money on airfare to reach Punjab frequently besides taking time out of our busy schedules.” The team interacts with each other online. “We were to hold a seminar but Khetan’s mother is unwell. So he cannot come to Punjab. We have postponed it,” Gurvinder said.