Common man party seeks polls candidates
INDIA'S new anti-graft party has launched a massive all-India recruitment drive for the party, shortly after it announced on Saturday it would contest most of the seats in upcoming general elections.
The party will waive its 10-rupee (20 Singapore cents) membership fee for the "Mein Bhi Aam Aadmi" ("I am also a common man") drive, which will last from Friday to Jan 26.
One of the Aam Aadmi ("common man") Party's top leaders, Mr Prashant Bhushan, announced their decision to contest the national elections after the first day of a two-day meeting of the party's top decision-making body in New Delhi to plan strategy for the elections, due in May.
At the end of the meeting yesterday, it said it was aiming to contest more than 300 seats and there was "no major state" where it would not contest the election, The Times of India reported.
The Aam Admi Party (AAP), formed just a year ago, "will fight the general elections, contest in the maximum number of states and in as many seats as possible", Mr Bhushan told reporters in televised remarks in New Delhi.
He said the party was looking for "honest candidates".
The party won 28 seats in the 70-seat Delhi state assembly in polls early last month, routing the Congress party, which rules at the national level.
The AAP's success has engendered hope among corruption-weary Indians that it would signal the beginning of the clean-up of the nation's graft-ridden politics.
Congress' rout in Delhi and three other state polls has been seen as one more sign the powerful Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, which has given India three premiers since independence, may lose office in the looming general elections.
The rookie party's performance in Delhi is being closely watched to see what it could deliver for the rest of India.
Party head Arvind Kejriwal, the new chief minister of the capital who has already slashed electricity costs and announced supplies of free water, has vowed to end the privileged culture surrounding Delhi's politicians and make his administration down-to-earth.
Mr Kejriwal and his ministers have refused to occupy the sprawling bungalows built by India's former colonial rulers, opting for simpler dwellings or to stay in their own homes.
Their cars, meanwhile, are minus the red beacons and sirens that allowed their predecessors to zip through traffic.
The AAP's symbol is a broom - to sweep away India's endemic corruption and bribery.
It said on its website that it would announce who would contest the elections within two weeks.