AAP's membership drive from Jan 10, not to contest all Lok Sabha seats

First list of LS candidates to be out by Jan 20; nationwide membership drive from Friday.

New Delhi: In a bid to cash in on its popularity after its Delhi success, the Aam Aadmi Party will launch a national campaign to enrol new members from January 10, even as it ruled out contesting all 545 seats in the country.

The party has decided to contest seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi and all 10 seats in Haryana along with all the 90 assembly seats in the state, should polls be advanced there or held on normal schedule.

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At the end of the AAP's two-day National Executive meeting, senior party leader Yogendra Yadav said on Sunday that the party has decided to field maximum number of candidates in Lok Sabha, but ruled out contesting in all 545 constituencies.

"Though it is sure that we will contest election from a large number of seats, at present we are not sure that we will contest from all 545 seats. We hope to contest from at least 15-20 states," Yadav said after the meeting that finalised the strategies for general elections.

Yadav said the first list of candidates will be announced by January 20 following a rigorous screening process and maintained that candidates with allegations of corruption and facing criminal charges will not be given party tickets.

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Yadav said the party will contest the Lok Sabha elections under Arvind Kejriwal's leadership.

"AAP will contest the Lok Sabha elections under the leadership of Arvind Kejriwal. It is still to early to discuss about the party's prime ministerial candidate," he said.

The party has announced a nationwide fortnight campaign - Main Bhi Aam Aadmi - for enrolling new members from January 10. Senior leader Gopal Rai has been made the overall incharge of the membership drive.

Yadav said, "The enthusiasm and faith of people in the party has prompted us to start the drive. Through this campaign we will also get to know where we stand. It will help us in this assessment and to work on the party's organisational structure and election strategies."

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"In the meeting it came to light that after our victory in Delhi and after our government formation in Delhi, people have seen a ray of hope, have shown great faith in us be it villages of Haryana, Gujarat or Tamil Nadu.

"Looking at the amount of interest people have shown towards the party, the party has decided that it will work on its organisational structure and election strategies," Yadav said.

He said AAP is working on its election strategies and will contest on maximum number of seats. It will announce the first list of candidates by January 20.

"The guidelines have been set. We would like to ensure that we push our best and most eligible members as Lok Sabha candidates," he added.

AAP has set up a three-member national coordination committee under Sanjay Singh, Pankaj Gupta and Yadav to prepare strategies for the Lok Sabha polls, including manifesto and funding. AAP has invited applications on its website.

All the applications received till January 15 will be considered, even though it will continue to receive applications from those seats where candidatures have not been finalised.

Yadav said anyone from across the country can apply for LS candidature and a screening committee at the state-level will scrutinise the applications and will place its opinion on it. It will then be sent to Political Advisory Committee of the party, which will take final decisions on candidates, he added.

"On policy level, 31 committees were set up by the party in the last one year. Various issues were discussed and that will be a starting point for the party manifesto. The party believes that in the month of March we will release the manifesto. "We will have an all- India manifesto. We would encourage our candidates to release constituency level manifestos like we did in Delhi," Yadav said.

Yadav said to ensure that only good candidates contest elections, all the names of will be made public and criticism and feedback will be invited for each one of them.

The AAP leader said that there was no membership fee for the nationwide campaign and the party has discontinued its initiative to take Rs 10 as token money for membership.

"Our administrative capability is not enough to deal with the number of people wanting to become AAP members. So we're removing all formalities to make the procedure easy for both us and the applicants," he said.

To a question regarding members of other political parties joining AAP, Yadav said the party has no intentions to poach members from them, even though some members of "big" parties have approached them.

Responding to a question of who will be AAP's Prime Ministerial candidate and Kejriwal's role in Lok Sabha election, Yadav said, "Declarations of the PM candidature in such light do pre-suppose an assessment of where we might end in the Lok sabha elections. Unless we arrive at some firm understanding on where we expect to land, it may not be correct for us to even discuss things like prime ministership."

The party will contest the Lok Sabha elections under Arvind Kejriwal's leadership and it will decide his role in the election. He has expressed his wish of not contesting Lok Sabha elections, Yadav added. He said the party will also contest general election and state election in Maharashtra.

To a query on Ramdev's remark on abolishing all taxes and implementing tax on bank transactions, Yadav said this is an old theory floated by an organisation for the last 5-7 years.

"It seems Ramdev has endorsed it. We have also received the suggestion. We have asked economists to give their view, but don't think it will be right to give one stroke solution like this," he added.

( Source : PTI )
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