AAP starts membership drive Friday, sets deadline for probable candidates

KejriwalArvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party is gearing up for the Lok Sabha poll debut.

With Lok Sabha elections just about four months away, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) (AAP) on Sunday announced a 16-day free membership drive from January 10 to January 26. AAP leaders said the drive was in response to the enthusiasm shown by people after the Delhi poll.

The party said logistical problems in various states where the party was finding it tough to deal with collecting Rs 10 as was the practice, due to issues like number of receipts, accounting and so on had made them decide on a free membership drive.

AAP national executive committee member Yogendra Yadav said, "We will start this 'Main bhi Aam Aadmi abhiyan'. We will ask people to not only apply for membership but take out time to work for the party. The Rs 10 fee had become a bottleneck, and issuing receipts was a problem. We decided to go for free membership."

Another AAP leader, Gopal Rai, said people could apply online and through text messages as well.

"Anybody can download the form and distribute them as well, it does not have to be an AAP member. We hope to have several lakh people joining by January 26," Rai said.

Yadav said, "We reiterate there has been a huge response from all corners of the country after formation of an AAP government in Delhi. A tentative timetable has been made for candidate selection. Those who submit applications by January 15 will be considered. Thereafter, only if the candidate of a constituency has not been declared, can people continue to apply," Yadav said.

Yadav said candidate selection has to be speeded up as there was paucity of time. "While anybody from the country can apply, they will first be screened by the district committee that will pass on names to the state level committee. They will give their opinion and the Political Affairs Committee will then take the final call. However, when the state committee considers opinion on candidate nominees, the names will be circulated... so people can give their opinion as in Delhi. We are hopeful of bringing out a first list of candidates by January 20," Yadav said.

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