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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Eye on polls: AAP looking for new face to head party in Punjab

Neeraj Mohan, Hindustan Times  Sangrur, January 15, 2014
First Published: 00:01 IST(15/1/2014) | Last Updated: 14:34 IST(15/1/2014)

In view of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is looking for a new face to be appointed as its Punjab state convener.

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According to the party's guidelines, the state convener should be an honest, hardworking and famous personality from the state.

As AAP's membership drive is gaining momentum in the neighbouring state of Haryana, the native state of its founder members Arvind Kejriwal and Yogendra Yadav, the party wants some prominent personalities to lead its organization in the Punjab, disclose party insiders.

"Yes, the party is looking for a famous and honest personality from Punjab for the post of state convener, as its incumbent state convener Harjot Singh has abandoned work in the wake of media reports regarding secret meetings between AAP leadership and People's Party of Punjab (PPP) president Manpreet Badal", said an AAP leader, on the condition of anonymity. "The party has also decided to appoint new office bearers for the entire Punjab unit", he added. 
 
He, however, said that senior party leader Yogendra Yadav's recent clarification, in which he ruled out the possibility of any alliance with PPP for the Lok Sabha elections, has come as a morale booster for the AAP workers, who were worried over the rumours of a possible merger of PPP with AAP.

When contacted, AAP's Sangrur district convener Dr AS Mann also appreciated the party high command's decision to avoid any alliance with PPP.  "PPP's merger into AAP could affect the membership drive in the state, as alliance with well established politicians may spoil the image of the party", says Mann.

Meanwhile, AAP has so far established party units in three districts only--Ludhiana, Ropar and Sangrur. In order to take advantage of its victory in Delhi assembly polls, AAP has intensified its membership drive to strengthen party base in Punjab where it has decided to contest all the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the coming elections.

Mann said the party is also planning to induct more prominent personalities from the state, especially retired government officers.  He said several such people are showing enthusiasm to join the party. 

For example, many  prominent people in Sangrur district, including former civil surgeon Dr BL Jindal, retired Additional Superintending Engineer (SE) of  Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL)  SH Sohi, former professor Arun Kumar and eminent child specialist Dr Dharampal have joined the party.

Talking to Hindustan Times, BL Jindal said, "I have joined AAP without any ambition as I want to support the anti-corruption movement launched by Arvind Kejriwal". When asked about his aspirations to contest elections, he said, "I have joined the party unconditionally and will not contest any polls".

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