Party says it will contest as many seats as possible

Buoyed by the overwhelming response from people who want to join the party after its impressive debut in the Delhi Assembly elections, the Aam Aadmi Party on Saturday declared it would contest as many seats as possible in every possible State in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

National convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that though he would not contest the election, he would campaign for the party.

Positioning itself as an alternative to mainstream “corrupt” politics, the AAP asserted that it was not looking at forming a “third front” alliance with any party, although it welcomed “mergers.”

“We can look at mergers with like-minded groups and parties but we will not form alliances,” AAP Executive Committee member Prashant Bhushan told The Hindu, adding, “whoever wants to join us, will have to merge their party with the AAP.”

“The Delhi election has generated huge energy and a big hope in people for not only a clean and honest government but alternative politics that places the aam aadmi at the centre of politics and governance,” he said.

Refusing to get bogged down by the controversy over the allotment of the twin duplex bungalow to the Chief Minister, the party began its two-day national executive meeting here to chalk out a strategy for the Lok Sabha elections. Mr. Kejriwal, who chaired the meeting till lunch, told the media earlier that he was staying put at his flat in Ghaziabad and would not accept the twin bungalows.

The AAP, Mr. Bhushan said, would field candidates wherever the party had a “reasonable structure and can get good candidates.” Most candidates will be declared the latest by February-end.

He, however, refused to be drawn into answering questions whether Mr. Kejriwal would be the prime ministerial candidate and refused to say if the party would seek a referendum on the issue.

Asked whether the AAP’s entry into the national political fray would harm the prospects of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, AAP leader Sanjay Singh said: “We are not fighting elections to harm or benefit anyone.”

The ongoing two-day national executive meeting will decide the strategy for the elections and firm up the criteria for selection of candidates, which will be as stringent as it was for the Delhi Assembly elections.

Only candidates who are not facing “criminal or personal charges” will be considered.

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