Gearing up for Lok Sabha polls, AAP to begin membership drive

New Delhi, Jan 5 : Gearing up for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the Aam Admi Party (AAP) Sunday announced a membership drive from Jan 10 while its election manifesto will be ready by March.

The party also asserted that there will be no let-up in its campaign against corruption but sought time to set up a system to tackle it.

The debutant political party would contest the "maximum number of Lok Sabha seats, but the number of seats has not been finalised yet", senior party leader Yogendra Yadav told reporters after its two-day national executive meet here ended.

The party would finalise its election manifesto by March, he said.

"From Jan 10, we are launching a membership drive, 'Main Bhi Aam Aadmi' (I too am a common man)," he said. Party leader Gopal Rai will head the membership campaign, which will conclude Jan 26.

"We want people not just to join the AAP, but also do something for the country," he said.

An AAP spokesperson told IANS: "After the Delhi elections, we have seen an upsurge. We are launching a donation drive and a campaign as we want to tap this new upsurge to fight the VIP culture and corruption".

Yogendra Yadav said the Rs.10 fee earlier charged for primary membership had become a "bottleneck", and it was decided to "suspend" the fee.

"A three-member National Campaign Coordination Committee will look into the party's manifesto, fund-raising and other poll-related issues. People can apply for candidature for the Lok Sabha polls till Jan 15, and the applications will then be screened at the state level," he said.

"The first list of candidates should be out by Jan 15-20," he said.

Announcing its national ambitions, the AAP had Saturday announced it will contest the "maximum number of seats" in the April-May Lok Sabha polls and most of its candidates were expected to be declared by February-end.

However, the party's popular face and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he will not fight the polls despite Yogendra Yadav saying that the party wanted him to be their prime ministerial candidate.

Asserting that there would be no compromise on corruption, Kejriwal sought time for taking action.

"It has just been eight days, give us some time. We will not spare anyone who is corrupt," he told journalists.

"There is no question of compromising on corruption... I will put my life at stake, but will not compromise on the issue," he said.

Kejriwal was responding to a question on whether his party's tie-up with the Congress in Delhi would result in letting off the latter party, which AAP charged of corruption in the run-up to the Delhi polls.

"Whether it is Sheila Dikshit, or some minister from the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, or my own party, no one will be spared," he said.

Kejriwal, however, added that the "back ends" needed to be strengthened before action can be taken.

"Unless we strengthen our back end, announcements will not help. For example, we said we will give an anti-corruption helpline number, I have been working on its back end since a week," he said.

--IANS (Posted on 05-01-2014)

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