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AAP's membership stalls a hit among people

punjab Updated: Jan 06, 2014 19:14 IST
Vishal Joshi

Committed to contest all parliamentary seats in Haryana, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has intensified its membership drive in the state.

Unlike the conventional political parties, the AAP activists have put up roadside stalls at various district headquarters.


A random survey by this reporter revealed that these camps were invoking a good response and people were willingly becoming members of the party.

Camp managers claim that on an average about 100 people from all sections and of all age groups were enrolling themselves daily at each stall.

The AAP is not even inviting the people through loudspeakers as its activists quietly sit at the stall and wait for the people who come on their own. Pictures of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and party symbol 'jhaadu' are the only publicity material at the stalls.

Babu Ram, who works in Karnal municipal corporation, is illiterate, but he enrolled himself as an AAP member on Saturday and looks forward to transparency in governance.

"My firm faith in Kejriwal has made me register myself as an AAP member. I vow to vote for the party whenever they contest elections and ask others also to support and vote for the party," said Ram.
Anyone above the age of 18 is eligible to become AAP's member against a membership fee of `10, which is valid for three years.

The members will exchange text messages about party's activities in the districts. On becoming a member, a person gets a complimentary 'AAP cap'.

Among the stall managers are people from diverse fields from advocate Suresh Kakkar to farmer Jaipal Punia, who are now full-time workers of the AAP. Another worker, Mahinder Singh of Kurukshetra, works at a private company and sees a ray of hope in the AAP.

"Corruption is rampant in the Indian system but the respective governments have failed to rout out the evil. Now, we have pinned hopes on the AAP," said Singh.

Om Prakash of Katalheri village in Karnal said that no one had ever cared about the woes of the farming community. "Parties like the Congress and the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), which had governed Haryana since its inception in 1966, failed to work for the welfare of villagers. Politicians have filled their own pockets and promoted their family interests, but now the much needed change could be brought in by AAP," said that 52-year-old farmer.

A university student, Abhishekh Mehta from Panipat, said that plain talk and simplicity of AAP leaders was the main attraction.

Political observers too say that AAP has broken another tradition of parties going to people for political donations. "We can see that stalls are put and people are walking into associate themselves with the party. The trend is firm indicator that AAP is being accepted by the people," said an analyst.

He said that after the stunning victory in Delhi, the party has seen a tremendous response from Haryana.

However, the party is also facing a challenge in poor response from the women. Party's Karnal secretary Sandeep Saini said that men and women ratio was 10:2.

"Seeing poor presence of women, we are working to form a core group of women who could motivate others to join us. We are getting feedback from people on what they see as burning issues and soon we would chalk out a broad policy on these responses," said Saini, an MBA, who had left his job of store manager at WalMart, London, in April 2011 to join the political crusade.