With eye on LS polls, RLD to launch membership campaign from Nov 24

After the Samajwadi Party announced candidates for the Lok Sabha elections on the seats held by UPA ally Rashtriya Lok Dal, the RLD has decided to launch a membership campaign from November 24 as part of its preparations for the LS polls.

The RLD has currently five MPs from Baghpat, Mathura, Amroha, Hathras and Bijnor, all in western UP. Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh, who is the party's national president, is MP from Baghpat whereas his son Jayant Chaudhary is MP from Mathura. The SP, even though it supports the UPA, has announced candidates for both Baghpat and Mathura, besides Amroha and Hathras.

In the membership campaign, the RLD will try to expand its base to eastern and central UP. Jayant, who is party general secretary, will launch the membership drive from Lucknow on Saturday. It is after two years that the party is launching such a drive.

Munna Singh Chauhan, state RLD president, said that the drive would be significant because the party will identify new seats to contest in the next elections. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, RLD has fielded candidates on seven seats, winning five of them.

"The party will contest the Lok Sabha constituencies where we can constitute booth-level committees on at least 70 per cent polling booths," Chauhan said. RLD constitutes a booth committee where it has at least 40 primary members with two active members.

After the membership drive, the party will constitute its state as well as district teams. The exercise for the selection of candidates would start after that. "The decision on candidates will be taken by the national president only after the party collects panels of names of probable candidates from districts," said a party leader.

Recently, the party amended its constitution to conduct the membership drive only after three years in future. As a result, the office-bearers of the state team will also get a tenure of three years, said Chauhan. Until now, the office-bearers had a two-year tenure.

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