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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

AAP factor likely to be focus of discussions at Cong, BJP meets

PTI  New Delhi, January 12, 2014
First Published: 13:54 IST(12/1/2014) | Last Updated: 13:56 IST(12/1/2014)

The Aam Aadmi Party factor is expected to be the focus of Congress and BJP during conclaves of their top leaders here this week to prepare a strategy for Lok Sabha elections.

While the AICC meeting is scheduled on Jan 17, the BJP National Executive and National Council is from Jan 17 to 19 as the rival parties chart out the way ahead at a time when Arvind Kejriwal's party is gaining popularity Even though neither the BJP nor the Congress accept that they have been impacted by AAP, the actions of the major parties tell otherwise.

Just two days back, Rahul Gandhi held a meeting of leaders entrusted with the process of selection of candidates.

At the meeting, the Congress Vice President pitched for giving Lok Sabha tickets to ordinary workers and those having a clean image as he unveiled a "new process" that will see early declaration of Congress nominees.

Apparently taking a leaf from the success of AAP, Rahul told the leaders that while deciding candidates views of local people should be given prime importance and ordinary party workers should be given their due in the selection.

The exercise initiated by Rahul comes in the backdrop of the AAP as well as the BJP speeding up the process of selection of candidates for the polls and setting this month as a deadline.

BJP leaders say in private that AAP can affect them in urban areas as the Kejriwal effect is visible in cities but insist that it could be a blessing in disguise as it would help the party rank and file to connect more to the people.

"We do not go by press headlines. We have the pulse of the people. We will not take undue cognisance", BJP spokesman Prakash Javadekar said, dismissing the contention that AAP's rise would dominate the party meet.

Striking a similar note, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said, "Focus will be on Congress" at the AICC meet.

Another Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said the focus will be on what the party can do to win the elections by defeating both the BJP and AAP and the regional parties.

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