Thousands queue to join India’s AAP

Party that made electrifying electoral debut in Delhi has attracted 1.2 million new members in last four days.

AAP is planning to contest upcoming parliamentary elections in a big way [File: Reuters]

The Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party’s spectacular success in the Delhi state elections is attracting a phenomenal number of members, with thousands flocking to the party from various part of India.

The unprecedented queue to join the party has forced the nine-member political affairs committee (PAC) of the AAP to double its earlier plan to contest 200 seats in the forthcoming elections to the lower house (Lok Sabha) of parliament.

Member of the PAC, Prashant Bhushan, said the AAP had received an “unprecedented response” from across the country.

“We are looking at contesting at least 400 seats in the coming general elections,” reports quoted him as saying.

In the last four days since the AAP began a membership drive, some 1.2 million people have joined the party already, reports said.

The free membership drive will go on until January 26 by which time the AAP hopes to enroll 10 million people.
Among the highest enrollment is in the southern state of Karnataka, especially the provincial capital Bangalore, reports said, without disclosing actual figures.

While those who enrolled online have been counted, simultaneously manual membership drive is on around 300 districts in the country.

National tag

Reports quoting AAP strategists said it was aiming to get the tag of a “national party” after the national general elections in April-May this year. A political party needs to get six percent of the total votes polled to get the much-coveted national tag.

Bhushan characterised the response as a political revolution. “We have received support from every part of the country, urban and rural. There is hope and expectation from people who see the emergence of an alternative politics in the country,” reports quoted him saying.

The party is already discussing candidates for the national elections and plans to announce the first list of around 15 candidates on January 20.

“On one hand, Congress and UPA stand discredited while on the other is BJP that represents a change of face without a change in system. People are yearning for a change and AAP represents a very radical change in the nature of government in the country,” Bhushan told reporters.

Congress no contender

Reacting to the giant strides taken by the AAP since its Delhi poll win, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the elections would see a fight between the contender for power Bharatiya Janata Party and the AAP. The Congress is nowhere in the picture, he is reported to have said.

The AAP caused a sensation, winning 28 Assembly seats on debut in the recent Delhi state elections and eventually making it to government. It routed the Congress and shocked the BJP which was getting ready to don power in Delhi.

Since its coming to power in Delhi, the AAP has won the admiration of large sections of people by doing the unthinkable – paring down government security, shunning official vehicles with the trademark red bacon lights, reducing the price of power by half, providing 666 litres of free water to residents of Delhi each month and going on an offensive against corruption in government.

Source: Al Jazeera

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