Even as BJP and Congress are yet to finalise their candidates for the upcoming general election, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) might kick off the battle on Gujarat chief minister and BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's home turf. The party, which stormed to power in Delhi last month, on Friday said that it would announce the names of its Lok Sabha candidate from Gujarat in first week of February.
Speaking at a press conference here, Sukhdev Patel, Gujarat convenor for AAP said, "We have begun inviting applications from interested individuals who wish to offer their candidature for the Lok Sabha elections from Aam Aadmi Party.
The applications will be received till January 26, following which a three member committee comprising Yogendra Yadav, Sanjay Singh and Pankaj Gupta would assess the candidatures till January 31. In the first week of February, the final names from Gujarat will be announced by our Delhi office."
When asked about how many constituencies in Gujarat is AAP looking at for fielding its candidates for the upcoming general elections, Patel said the party will be contesting from all 26 constituencies in the state.
In a bid to boost the membership drive in the state, the party has not only waived off the Rs 10 fee on the membership form but also launched a mobile number 07798220033 wherein individuals can send a text message with their names, PIN code and name of their legislative assembly constituency.
"They can also give a missed call on this number and we will call back and get these details from them," Patel added.
For assessment of the membership drive as well as applications for election candidature, Singh is also expected to visit Gujarat on January 17 and 18, said Patel. "The candidates will have to match our 5 'C' criteria, i.e. no corruption, no communalism, no casteism, no criminality and good character," he added.
As a result of its membership drive, the party has already received applications of over 125,000, of which 60 per cent are from urban areas.
Meanwhile, refuting the state government's claim on improvement in primary education in Gujarat, Patel said, "In 1999-2000, the state education department had released figures of total number of students in primary education at 8.133 million.
However, in 2010-11, the state government released a print advertisement stating that the total number of students in primary education has grown to 6 million. “This shows that in last 10 years, number of students in primary education in Gujarat has actually come down," he added.