AAP to contest Lok Sabha polls 2014
Outlining its national ambitions, the AAP on Saturday announced it will contest “maximum” number of seats in most States in upcoming Lok Sabha polls and the first list of its candidates will be out in the next 10-15 days.
However, amidst talk that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal is its Prime Ministerial nominee, the party made it clear that the decision on it will be taken after the results, senior leader Prashant Bhushan told reporters during a two-day meeting of the National Executive of the party in New Delhi.
Mr. Kejriwal and all the top leaders attended the meeting that will conclude on sunday.
“AAP will contest Lok Sabha Elections in most states and in the maximum number of seats. We will try to declare the list of maximum candidates by mid-February or latest by the end of next month,” he said.
Asked whether Mr. Kejriwal will be declared the PM candidate, he said this issue was not to be decided on Saturday.
“Arvind Kejriwal is the supreme leader of the party but we have not decided on the name of our Prime Ministerial candidate. It does not hold importance to us who will be our PM candidate,” said Mr. Bhushan.
Another leader Sanjay Singh said “the first list of AAP candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will be out in 10 to 15 days. The process which was followed during Delhi polls for selection of candidates will be followed in Lok Sabha also.” He said the party will contest elections from states where it has a reasonable structure and where it will find honest candidates.
“During the next one month, the party will hold meetings in every state to finalise the name of Lok Sabha candidates. Candidates facing criminal and corruption charges and questions on their moral character will not be given tickets,” Mr. Singh added.
Mr. Singh said that like Delhi Assembly elections, the party will have separate manifestos for each constituency for Lok Sabha elections.
Responding to a query on whether the AAP will cut into the BJP’s urban votes and damage Narendra Modi’s Prime Ministerial aspirations, Mr. Singh said the party has emerged as an alternative to Congress and BJP and it is not contesting election to “benefit” or “hurt” any party.
“Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi are not poll issues for us, we are here to eradicate the problems of the people,” Mr. Singh added.
“People in rural areas are as excited about AAP as those in urban areas. There are places were people in villages are even more excited,” Mr. Bhushan said.
Mr. Bhushan added that people now want an alternative to the Congress and the BJP and the AAP is a people’s movement, not just a political party.
“AAP believes that the government should run as per the wishes of the people,” he added.
Mr. Singh, who is part of two-member sub-committee for Lok Sabha election of the party, said there’s excitement in States about the party’s prospects and a large number of people want to join the AAP.
The party has already invited applications for the candidates wanting to contest Lok Sabha elections.
Apart from Delhi, key party functionaries from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana and Tamil Nadu are present for the national executive meeting.
Other than Mr. Kejriwal, his ministerial colleague Manish Sisodia, senior party members like Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Sanjay Singh, Anjali Damania and Mayank Gandhi were also present at the meet.