Launching the free membership drive “Main Bhi Aam Aadmi” of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the aim was to recruit one crore members by January 26.
By the end of the day, party sources said over 60,000 had taken memberships across the country. In the first three hours alone, over 49,000 people had taken AAP memberships.
The drive, which is being conducted under the stewardship of AAP’s political affairs committee member Gopal Rai, waives the Rs 10 membership fee between January 10 and January 26.
Kejriwal also released a phone number, 7798220033, for availing the party membership. “People can SMS their name and Assembly constituency to this number and they will get a response. Similarly, people can also give a ‘missed call’ to this number and take membership. We want to touch the figure of one crore members by January 26,” he said.
Gopal Rai said, “People can also become members online. Party volunteers can download the membership form, set up camps, and go on door to-door campaigns to recruit people. Phone numbers will be collected from each person and they will get messages intimating them of their membership number. After January 17, those who do not have a mobile phone, can also enrol themselves on the basis of their Voter ID numbers. However, I must make it clear that only one person can register using one mobile phone number.”
Party sources said the number had crossed the 60,000-mark by late Friday. “In the first three hours alone, 47,500 people had registered online, and 1,950 had registered through either SMS or missed calls,” a party official said. Senior AAP leaders also confirmed that they had been in touch with Medha Patkar about her joining the party.
“Yogendra Yadav has spoken to Patkar. We have asked her to think about it, and she has shown inclination,” Pankaj Gutpa, member of the AAP’s national executive, said.
Asked about the jan sunwai planned outside the Secratariat on Saturday, Kejriwal said, “The idea is to break down the walls in the minds of the people. Right now, they think that ministers have big cars and huge gates, which keeps people out. We want to break those barriers.”
On the subject of the Delhi Lokpal Bill, Kejriwal said the taxpayer would not mind paying for a special session at Ramlila Maidan as it would “empower” them.
“We will hold a special session at Ramlila Maidan. I have asked experts and it is entirely constitutional and possible. The sessions being held before their eyes will make people feel empowered. We are for a politics where decision-making is done in front of the people, rather than behind closed doors,” he said.
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