To ward-off imposters duping unsuspecting people, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has decided to undertake a free membership drive until January 26.
Although party heads decided to conduct the free membership drive from January 10 to 26, the Vadodara wing of AAP began its free membership drive last week itself, after reports emerged of conmen duping people in the name of AAP in Surat. The party’s drive now allows citizens to become members without paying the mandatory membership fee of Rs 10.
The party has however not yet decided its strategy to deal with impostors in the long run. Bhushan Bhatt, media convenor of AAP Vadodara, said, “We have party receipt booklets that are issued to people who pay the membership fees and become members. The booklets have unique numbers and our volunteers know that. But for common people, it could be difficult to make out the difference. They can, however, call up the district helpline number of the party and verify if their receipts are genuine.”
The party, however, is yet to devise a strategy to deal with the issue. “We have not yet heard of such a thing in Vadodara. The moment we heard about an incident in Surat where someone was collecting funds in the name of AAP, we decided to go with a free membership drive. Our volunteers are present in all election wards where they will induct people into the party. The party will soon decide what has to be done,” said Bhatt.
Former Vadodara mayor Ratilal Desai has taken charge of overseeing the membership drive in Godhra-Panchmahal. The party is also grappling with the dilemma of other political party workers joining AAP. Bhatt says, “Many people have joined us and we know some are already affiliated to other political parties. There are many who are joining only for the sake of a ticket. But this will not do. We are now going to begin streamlining the members in order to make it systematic. The ones with vested interest will anyway not be able to perform the duties that the party requires.”
The party will begin its “Jhadoo Abhiyan yatra” after January 26.