The strong debut of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi elections has fuelled its spread across north and eastern India.
Aam Aadmi Party supporters hold brooms, the party symbol, in the air as they celebrate outside the AAP office in New Delhi. (AFP)
For a party born as late as January 2012, a presence in 22 states, multiple offices in at least half-a-dozen and over 12.5 lakh volunteers is no mean feat.
In many of these states, the AAP does not even exist as a registered party. But having captured the imagination of urban middle class, the ranks of its volunteers and members are swelling by the day.
For example, take Karnataka, where the party has units in 18 districts, including five major cities -- Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Udupi, Hubli – and over 12,000 registered members.
Or Haryana, which has full-fledged offices in 18 of the 21 districts, ad hoc offices in two and around 20,000 members. Or Uttar Pradesh, where they have five zonal offices and presence in most districts -- with over 5,000 members in each.
That the party would establish its presence in Haryana or Uttar Pradesh is a no-brainer. After all, party chief Arvind Kejriwal is from a village of Bhiwani. Psephologist, social scientist Yogender Yadav hails from Rewari.
As for Uttar Pradesh, 11 of the 23 senior leaders hail from the state.
The list includes Prashat Bhushan (Allahabad), Manish Sisodia (Hapur), Sanjay Singh (Sultanpur), Kumar Vishwas (Hapur) and Shazia Ilmi (Kanpur). But what explains its strong presence elsewhere? Is there a game plan?
Sanjay Singh, co-chair of the sub-committee formed after Delhi election results to look into the expansion issue, said: “Politics is part of daily grind, rather the DNA, in north India. The land is fertile for all kinds of movements, be it the 1977 JP movement or the 1989 VP Singh’s anti-Congress wave vis-à-vis Bofors corruption. Therefore, it is no surprise that there is more response."
AAP's pan-India operations:
• Delhi: Offices/units in all 272 wards
• Haryana: Full-fledged offices in 18 of 21 districts, ad hoc offices in two, 20,000 members
• Uttar Pradesh: Five zonal offices, 5,000 members in each district
• Rajasthan: No permanent office, but teams across 27 districts operate from homes, 30,000 members
• Uttarakhand: Offices in Dehradun and 13 other districts, 2,500 members
• Jharkhand: Headquarters in Ranchi, three full-fledged offices at Jamshedpur, Bokaro and Pakur, working in 17 of 24 districts
• Madhya Pradesh: Office in Ranchi, over 6000 volunteers/activists
• Bihar: No office yet, but over 10,000 members
• Karnataka: Office in Bangalore, units in 18 districts including five major cities Bangalore, Mysore, Mangalore, Udupi, Hubli, 12,000 members
(With inputs from Haryana, UP, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, MP, Bihar and Karnataka correspondents)
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