41 to 42: Friends of BJP
In the midst of what was happening at NetCore, I decided to spend some time on the political front, albeit from a distance. A group of us started an informal group, “Friends of BJP”, to help garner support for the BJP in Middle India. I have written about my experience extensively on my blog.
The time in January when I made that decision, NetCore itself needed all my attention. But the question I asked myself was that with elections in India happening once every five years, would I regret the decision to not be an active participant come May? The answer was an unequivocal Yes, given that I would like to, in the years to come, work to see how we can reinvent politics and governance in India.
And so, I took the plunge, spending nearly half my time over a three-month period, with the “Friends of BJP.” I travelled extensively, met with a lot of people whom I otherwise would never have interacted with professionally, learnt first-hand about India’s political system, and got many ideas on what we need to do next in India.
That Next means thinking big on multiple fronts – education, transportation, urbanization, digital infrastructure, energy, and more. In India, we have never done that. Our politics has become too petty – with there always being the next election to win, which means the bold, game-changing decisions never get done. My biggest learning is that it needs outsiders to get inside one of the two main political parties to start the process of transforming India.
It was in some ways an impulsive decision – and I do believe that there are times when one just has to do so. I had no idea when I began this journey how the next few months would play out. I took it one step at a time, and even though the electoral outcome was personally disappointing, I can definitely say that the learnings from the process will always stay with me.