Party will elicit public objections to the final list

Faced with a huge influx of members and ticket-seekers after its success in the Delhi polls, the Aam Aadmi Party is likely to appoint ombudsmen in each State to watch over the screening committees that will finalise candidates for the general election.

The ombudsmen will be persons who are not part of the organisational hierarchy and do not hold any position in the party, AAP leader Yogendra Yadav, said speaking to The Hindu at a workers’ sammelan here.

Faced with shortage of time and a flood of aspirants, the party might not be able to apply all procedures for screening candidates as it did for the Delhi elections, but would certainly make the process transparent and invite public objections to the final list.

In the membership drive begun January 10, the party has enrolled more than one lakh members in Haryana alone. Mr. Yadav said that in the first stage, primary membership was open to everyone free of cost. Though the party was aware that many dubious people had joined it, it was consciously not applying any filter at this stage. After Delhi, Haryana was admittedly the next State on the AAP’s radar, its target being the Assembly elections due in October. Towards this end, the party’s energies were focussed on the Lok Sabha elections. For, “we would like to send a signal through the Lok Sabha elections which will work to our advantage in the Assembly elections.”

In the second stage when screening of active members was done, some filters would be applied and many of the big names who joined the party recently would be subjected to rigorous scrutiny. From the Punjab and Haryana region, several retired bureaucrats, academics and police officers have joined the AAP in the last few days, prompting many to question their track record.

Allaying apprehensions over the high-profile entry, Prof. Yadav told the sammelan: “Though these IAS and IPS officers are donning the Aam Aadmi cap to gain entry into the party, they will be made to wield the broom in the coming days to prove their worth. Anyone who does not meet the stringent scrutiny standards of the AAP will be shown the door.”

Prof. Yadav acknowledged that the biggest challenge before the AAP after the Delhi debut “is to regulate and filter the massive inflow of members, because if this is not done responsibly then our calling card of being a party with a difference will come into question.”

Among those who have joined the party in recent days are retired police officers Shashi Kant Sharma, Ranbir Sharma, A.S. Bhatotia and V.N. Rai; retired IAS officer H.S Rana; Savita Bhatti, wife of the late comedian Jaspal Bhatti; Nirmal Kaur, wife of legendary athlete Milkha Singh; and academics D.R. Chaudhary and Professor Manjit Singh.

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