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Meet the Indian Origin Man Behind Firebrand Democratic Leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

From an apolitical techie to a charged activist to an “insurgent insider”, Saikat Chakrabarti’s trajectory has been as interesting as the Democratic leader Alexandria Cortez’s.


Updated:July 12, 2019, 12:49 PM IST
Meet the Indian Origin Man Behind Firebrand Democratic Leader Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
President of Justice Democrats and senior advisor to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Saikat Chakrabarti has been one of the main drivers of Cortez's 'Green New Deal'. (Image : Reuters).

US Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been making ripples ever since she won the Democratic Party's primary election for New York's 14th congressional district back in January.

More recently, her 'Green New Deal' proposal calling for a drastic overhaul of the American economy has been a one-of-a-kind in America’s political landscape. At the helm of the campaign is her Chief of Staff Saikat Chakrabarti. From an apolitical techie to a charged activist to an “insurgent insider”, Chakrabarti’s trajectory has been as interesting as Cortez’s.

Born to a family of Indian migrants, Chakrabarti grew up in Fort Worth in Texas. He graduated from Harvard with a computer science degree following which he worked in a hedge fund in Connecticut. In 2009, Chakrabarti started his own company in San Francisco and co-founded the Web design tool Mockingbird. Following this, he

The 32-year-old soon grew disillusioned of the tech world. Problems like climate change and the increasing inequality became unavoidable concerns that finally compelled Chakrabarti to contact Bernie Sander’s senior adviser, Zack Exley.

Chakrabarti then went onto form a group called the Brand New Congress in 2016 with other Sanders organisers with the mission to recruit hundreds of community leaders and working-class candidates to run on a vision of getting corporate money out of politics.

Cortez, then just a bartender from Bronx, was recruited by Brand New Congress. And although, the project eventually failed as they managed to recruit only a dozen candidates, but it led to the victory of Alexandria Ocasia-Cortez.

From there Saikat Chakrabarti would go onto become Cortez’s campaign manager and Chief of Staff. Another progressive political action committee he co-founded, Justice Democrats, also pulled its weight behind other progressive winners like Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib.

And they’ve already been creating quite a splash in the capital Washington – clashing with incoming committee chairmen, pushing for newly empowered segment of Democrats to push for ambitious goals like climate change and even joining a protest in Nancy Pelosi’s office.

As Chakrabarti told the news outlet, Politico, “You have to decide to create the society you want to create.”

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