By Alok Singh, New Delhi, Jan 5 IANS | 12 months ago

Having conquered Delhi, the AAP has now set its eyes on Maharashtra with the party all set to contest on all 288 assembly seats in the elections later this year, buoyed by the enthusiasm shown by over 300,000 people who have joined in the last three weeks. In fact, the party is getting overwhelming support from the film industry, including from Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan.


Talking exclusively to IANS, the party's conveners for Maharashtra, Anjali Damania and Mayank Gandhi, said the Aam Aadmi Party is getting massive response from the western state, especially from the rural belt.

"In the past 20 days, more than three lakh people have joined us in Maharashtra. Committees in 34 districts have been formed," said Damania, who along with Gandhi are camping in Delhi to attend the party's two-day national executive committee meet Jan 4-5.

"This is all due to the Delhi election results," she added.

The one-year-old party won 28 of the 70 seats in Delhi and has formed the government courtesy outside support from Congress, which has eight legislators.

According to the social activists and AAP national executive members, the people who are joining the party belong to varied social and economic backgrounds.

"From rickshaw pullers to IT professionals to doctors, we are getting people from all classes," said Damania.

M.S. Navare, surgical oncologist at the prominent Jaslok hospital in Mumbai and Idea cellular CEO Sanjeev Aga are some of the high profile people who have recently joined the party in Maharashtra.

"We are looking for clean people to join us. Those who want to serve and are not hungry for power or money," Gandhi said.

"The party is also getting support from Bollywood actors like Aamir Khan and Ranvir Shorey. Many other actors are also extending support to us," Gandhi added.

Music composer Vishal Dadlani of the Vishal-Shekhar duo, which has to its credit a number of hit Hindi songs, was the first celebrity to extended support to the AAP. Vishal had even attended some of its public rallies in Delhi.

Pointing out the reason behind the people' unhappiness, especially in the rural areas, they said the local leaders have failed to solve even the basic problems like drought, water shortage, malnutrition and farmer's suicides, among others.

"We have met many families personally and they are fed up of the political parties there. They desperately want change and have promised to bring AAP in power," said Damania, claiming that there were many villages whose residents had vowed to vote for the AAP.

"The regional parties contest on the basis of language and religion but we will talk about issues that directly affect the people including corruption," Gandhi said.

The party is also claiming inroads into the established parties like the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

"Recently, 1,200 members from these three parties have joined us in Aurangabad."

However, the duo refused to reveal the name of the chief ministerial candidate but said that the decision would be taken soon.

The party has also set its sights on the April-May general elections and has declared that it will contest from as many seats as possible from the state.

"We hope to contest on maximum seats," Damnia, who had accused BJP's former president Nitin Gadkari of corruption and had launched a campaign against his Purti Group said.

Damania may contest against Gadkari from Nagpur in the Lok Sabha elections.

(Alok Singh can be contacted at alok.s@ians.in)

(Posted on 05-01-2014)