‘My values match with Kejriwal’s party’

Buoyed by its sterling performance in the Delhi elections, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Arvind Kejriwal is set to field candidates in the coming general election in all 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat.

It got a shot in the arm on Wednesday when danseuse, actor and social activist Mallika Sarabhai, daughter of scientist Vikram Sarabhai and classical dance exponent Mrinalini Sarabhai, joined the party, calling herself its “foot soldier.”

She said, “I have worked a lot with Arvind (Kejriwal). My values match with his Aam Aadmi Party.”

Mallika added that the one-year-old party must be given a chance.

Ms. Sarabhai was in the news when she contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2009 as an independent candidate against veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani in Gandhinagar but lost by a huge margin.

AAP sources claimed that Mallika may yet again fight against Mr. Modi in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Asked about her constituency, Ms. Sarabhai said that she had joined Kejriwal’s dispensation as a party worker and would follow the party leadership’s decision in future.

Ms. Sarabhai, who has been constantly taking up the issues related to the 2002 Gujarat riots, asserted that the AAP had provided a third alternative to the people of Gujarat, where only one person’s (Mr. Modi’s) voice was being heard.

Veteran Gujarat journalist Nachiketa Desai, who is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi’s personal secretary Mahadev Desai and son of Gandhian Narayan Desai, has also joined the AAP.

Meanwhile, the party has kicked off an intensive membership drive in the State and has set a target to enroll as many as 13 lakh members by the end of January, at the rate of 50,000 per Lok Sabha constituency.

AAP chief convener in Gujarat Sukhdev Patel told The Hindu that besides in the State headquarters, the party had already launched offices in 19 districts in the State and the process was on to have its units across the rest of the districts in a month’s time. “Our membership strength has already crossed one lakh in Gujarat. We are flooded with hundreds of inquiries from across the State.”