As the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) goes national with the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, it faces a number of challenges. HT takes a look at five most important ones.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal addressing media at the launch of Aam Aadmi Party's free membership campaign in New Delhi. (PTI photo)
Handling the surge in its membership
As AAP scripted a surprise victory in the Delhi assembly elections, the queues at its offices all over the country grew longer. The rush to become a member of the party came not only from the common man but also a number of prominent personalities. “We have not been able to handle the huge rush that we have been witnessing from different parts of the country. Frankly we did not expect such a rush” Pankaj Gupta, national secretarty AAP said.
While about four lakh members have joined online, states like Maharashtra and Gujarat have reported three to five lakh members each. With the party waiving off the membership fee of Rs. 10 till January 26, party expects over a crore members.
“We need to be better prepared for this surge. We need to have offices and full time volunteers at every district every block to be able to tackle the long queues of people who want to join the party,” Gupta said.
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Identifying the right candidate
The unexpected success of the party in Delhi elections also brought the rush of ticket hopefuls. For every seat it has received more than 100 applications. With its stated goal of fielding clean candidates, the party faces humongous task of filtering out the suitable candidates for each seat it wants to contest.
Delhi CM Kejriwal attends the NCC Republic Day Parade camp 2014 in New Delhi. (PTI photo)
“Ensuring that we give tickets to candidates with the right credentials is not an easy task,” Gupta, said. The party has, however, put in place three layer scrutiny mechanism that would ensure that no one with a doubtful background gets a ticket.
A campaign strategy that reaches out
While the party has been able to reach out to the metropolitan cities and towns, it is yet to penetrate the rural India. “It’s tough to reach out to people in six lakh villages in the country,” admitted a party worker.
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The party is hoping a swell in its rank of volunteers who would be to take party’s message to every nook and cranny of the country. Like Delhi elections the party will emphasise on door to door campaigning.
Strategy for booth management
Getting volunteers for more than eight lakh polling booths in the country is another important challenge for the party. Unlike the BJP and the Left that are cadre based parties, AAP will have to rely on its volunteers to man the booths.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal with party members addresses media after winning the trust vote in Delhi assembly. (PTI photo)
“Again we are relying on the huge number of volunteers we are expecting in our ranks,” said a party worker.
Arranging funds for the polls
The party is aware that it is no match to the Congress and the BJP when it comes to available funds for fighting elections which is a very expensive business. Nonetheless, it is banking on the funds that is pouring in from all over the country and abroad.
It has been able to raise Rs. 6 crore till now and is hopeful it reaches Rs. 200 crore in the immediate future. “It is not a big concern, for like Delhi elections we will allocate each candidate the amount that we ultimately manage,” Gupta said.
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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal speaks during confidence vote in Delhi assembly. (PTI photo)