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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Jul 2014

AAP seeks national role, names 426 candidates

Brajesh Kumar, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 03, 2014
First Published: 00:57 IST(3/4/2014) | Last Updated: 12:02 IST(3/4/2014)

With 426 candidates declared for the Lok Sabha polls, the 15-month-old AAP has shot ahead of major parties like the Congress (414), BJP (415) and SP (160).

But unlike these national parties that take care of their candidate’s campaign, AAP candidates have been told not to expect a great deal from the party headquarters.

It can neither spare its star campaigner and party chief, Arvind Kejriwal, for all its candidates nor mobilise adequate funds for their campaigning.

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AAP candidates across India have been pleading for at least one rally by Kejriwal in their respective constituencies.

In Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh, for example, AAP supporters have even offered to hire a helicopter to fly Kejriwal from Delhi.

The AAP chief is yet to visit Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Goa, and the Northeastern states, and with party deciding to focus on its stronghold, Delhi-NCR, he is unlikely to find time for cross-country campaigns.

The party is also facing an acute shortage of funds and with about Rs. 20 crore in its kitty now, AAP has asked its candidates to fend for themselves.

“We don’t have enough funds and this was told to our candidates at the very beginning,” AAP national secretary Pankaj Gupta said.

Gupta admitted that contesting more than 400 constituencies in its first election was aimed at getting registered as a national party which requires 6% of the total votes polled in at least four states and four members in the Lok Sabha.

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