THE Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has launched a unique process to select candidates for the Delhi Assembly elections, which are more than six months away. Over 1.5 lakh volunteers, roughly one for every 30 households in Delhi, will go door to door asking people for names of suitable candidates besides finding out issues important to them. They will also collect feedback on people who want to be the party’s candidates.
People who wish to be considered for selection will have to get at least 100 people from their constituency to recommend them. No two aspirants can have the same people recommending them. All applications will be screened by a committee comprising senior leaders. Eventually, five candidates will be shortlisted for each constituency. Their names will be displayed on the party website for over a month for public scrutiny. AAP workers in each constituency will then vote on their choice among the five and the person getting the highest number of votes will be the party’s official candidate. The result of the voting will, however, be kept secret until the process for filing the nomination begins.
The official candidate will not get funds from the party for campaign and other election expenses. They are expected to collect donations from the people and manage their own expenses. The criteria for accepting applications is strict, said Arvind Kejriwal, the party convener. People with criminal records, people from the same family and rebels from other political parties will not be accepted, he added.
The party has decided to have 71 manifestos, one for each constituency and one common manifesto for all. “Our volunteers will go to each and every household and list the important issues in each constituency. Based on this we will first prepare a constituency-wise manifesto and then a common manifesto for the State,” Kejriwal said. Kejriwal himself has decided to enter the fray, but the constituency will be decided later. Even his candidature will have to go through the same process as everyone else’s. “We would like to have educated, committed and dedicated people to come forward as we want to change the face of politics in India. Delhi being our debut election, we want to showcase it as a model for the rest of the country,” he said.
Party spokesman Manish Sisodia said the party had sent about three lakh emails to professionals and others asking them for names of prospective candidates. “We expect to announce the candidates in 45 days to two months,” he said. The aspirants will have to give an undertaking that they will not use cars with red beacons, stay in government residences or have bodyguards.
Purnima S. Tripathi