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AAP prepares for Uttar Pradesh battle

By Ians

Lucknow, Feb 2: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has fast-tracked preparations for the Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh.

While more than 1,300 applications have come for the state's 80 seats, party insiders say the leadership is keen on finalizing "known, clean and formidable" names against heavyweights of other political parties.

Sources say former TV journalist Ashutosh, now an AAP leader, is expected to take on Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh wherever he contests from.

Rajnath Singh was elected to the Lok Sabha from Ghaziabad in 2009.

Most analysts believe that Ghaziabad is one of the areas neighbouring the capital where the AAP now wields influence.

The sources said the AAP had almost made up its mind on candidates who will be fielded against prominent leaders of the Congress, the BJP and the ruling Samajwadi Party.

Ex-TV journalist Ashutosh is expected to take on BJP president Rajnath Singh.

Poet-turned-politician Kumar Vishwas has already launched his campaign against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi from Amethi though it is not yet clear if he will indeed be the AAP candidate there.

A hunt is on for a candidate in Mainpuri where Samajwadi Party president and former defence minister Mulayam Singh Yadav will seek re-election.

Each prospective candidature needs to be endorsed by 100 people of that constituency as per AAP norms, a member of its Uttar Pradesh secretariat told IANS.

The party, he added, would interview probable candidates Feb 5-6.

A total of five screening committees comprising five-eight members each have been set up for Uttar Pradesh.

The sprawling state, India's most populous, has been divided into five zones: Poorvanchal, Avadh (central UP), Rohelkhand, Bundelkhand and western UP.

An election "war room" functions from Lucknow at a place gifted by a real estate major.

This "war room" has detailed data on all 80 constituencies. Efforts are on to know more about the problems in each constituency.

This will help in preparing a manifesto for each constituency -- the way it was done in Delhi.

"Once the process is complete, we hope to announce the names of candidates by the end of this month," a source told IANS.

Delhi Chief Minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Friday announced that his party will pit candidates against all leading politicians.

He also named Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and BSP supremo Mayawati as among the "corrupt leaders" who should be barred from reaching parliament by defeating them in the election.

The AAP is likely to contest around 350 Lok Sabha seats across the country.


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