(Pics) 'Main bhi Aam Aadmi', AAP's drive to hunt honest candidates

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New Delhi, Jan 6: The AAP team is set to release their first list of candidates contesting the Lok Sabha polls on January 20. However, going by the claims of the party supremo Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia, finding honest candidates would be like finding needle in a haystack.

But, this hasn't bogged the party down and they have announced a massive pan-indian recruitment drive on Sunday that will find eligible candidates across the country. In fact, they have also waived off its Rs 10 membership fees.

Named as "Mein Bhi Aam Aadmi', the campaign will begin on January 10 and continue till January 26.

The process

"All applications for candidature that the party receives till January 15 will be considered. However, after that when we start announcing candidates, nominations for those seats will be closed. By January 20 we are expecting our first list while all candidates shall hopefully be finalized by February 15. Some candidates are more or less decided so we would like to announce their names at the earliest," said Pankaj Gupta, who is a part of the 3-member national campaign co-ordination committee that is meant for handling fund collection, association and management of other political groups.

According to a Times of India report, he further added that the party's national manifesto should be ready by March and candidates would be requested to prepare local manifestoes as well.

Given the lakhs of applications already pouring in for the membership of the party, AAP may have a tough time ahead to streamline all candidatures, especially when they have to undergo multi-layered scrutinization.

According to party sources, those wishing to contest the Lok Sabha elections as AAP candidates will have to submit their applications at the zonal level. The list of finalised candidates will then be sent to the party's parliamentary affairs committee for confirmation.

The applications will then be analysed for each seat by a 5-member committee, comprising the state convener, one non-executive and one national executive member. At this level, the shortlisted names will be made public for debate.

To accelarate the process, the party has set up a secretariat in Delhi and has issued a helpline number for those interested in applying. Gupta says,"We have received several forms but so far only about 100 are such that can be processed."

The party is also set to provide online application facilities shortly and a phone number will be issued to help in phone registration. "Online forms can then be printed or copied and submitted to local offices," said Gopal Rai, a senior party official.

Membership will also be available online shortly and a phone number will be issued to help in phone registration. Forms will be available online which can be printed or copied and then submitted to local offices," said senior party leader Gopal Rai.

Points to be noted

Party sources have said that due to the lakhs of applications, it is difficult to manage the Rs 10 membership fees, which is why the party has decided to suspend it from January 10 to January 26. "The collection mechanism is also posing a problem. Therefore, this fee will be suspended between January 10 and 26. People are invited not just to become members but also to work for the party," said the member.

However, this suspension would be temporary and the fund raising drive would commence shortly. In fact, states have been asked to set up teams for donation monitoring.

In Ballabgarh

People listen to Yogender Yadav, National Executive member of Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) during first meeting of Aam Aadmi Party at Ballabgarh in Faridabad on Sunday.

In Allahabad

AAP workers during a candle light march protesting against police lathi charge on students who demanded CBI probe into corruption in Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission recruitments, in Allahabad on Sunday.

In Allahabad

AAP workers during a candle light march protesting against police lathi charge on students who demanded CBI probe into corruption in Uttar Pradesh Public Service Commission recruitments, in Allahabad on Sunday.

in New Delhi

AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav and Gopal Rai addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday.

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