AAPter effects: A party takes baby steps in Gujarathttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/aapter-effects-a-party-takes-baby-steps-in-gujarat/

AAPter effects: A party takes baby steps in Gujarat

The party,that was formed on Nov 24 last year,had only 6,000 members in Gujarat before the Delhi Assembly polls.

Following its stunning performance in the Delhi Assembly polls,the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) presence in Gujarat is set to increase as it is attracting people from different quarters,mainly youngsters,queuing up to join the party that vows to herald “corruption-free India” and “true swaraj”. Apart from the youth cutting across various social background,the list of fresh registrations include retired IPS officer and former minister Jaspal Singh and a retired Gujarat-cadre IAS officer,G D Vyas.

The party,that was formed on November 24 last year,had only 6,000 members in Gujarat before the Delhi Assembly polls. However,following the election results,the membership has crossed 45,000 and is increasing by the day.

The party’s state headquarters at Bungalow Number H-2 of Aayojan Nagar near Shreyas Railway Crossing in Ahmedabad is these days witnessing a continuous stream of people,a majority of them from colleges or young professionals.

Satish Limbachiya,28,who registered on Tuesday,said he was attracted by the simplicity of the party leadership.

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“The new generation of educated youngsters are overwhelmed by the simplicity of its leaders and their spectacular performance in Delhi Assembly polls,” said Limbachiya,an advocate. He said 17 of his friends from different professions were also ready to join AAP and work for it.

“Through the Delhi polls,AAP indicated that even the poor can aspire to become an MLA or MP which is not the case in established parties like BJP or Congress where tickets are given according to one’s financial position and wealth,” Limbachiya added.

Another new member is Vyas who retired as Secretary of Gujarat Energy Regulatory Commission in 2004. On being asked for reasons to join the AAP,Vyas said,“…to provide clean,transparent and people-oriented administration in Gujarat.” Currently,Vyas is working as an advisor to Cheminova,a Denmark-based Multi-National Company (MNC) and plans to resign in January to work full-time for the party.

Meanwhile,80-year-old Jaspal Singh,a retired IPS officer and a former minister in the Keshubhai Patel government,joined AAP on Monday.

“I joined AAP because of the integrity of its leaders and hope they will provide a clean and non-corrupt government,” said Singh. “I am physically fit even at 80 and want to do something for the society,” he added.

Another bureaucrat to join AAP is J T Dabhi,who retired as deputy commissioner,Union Ministry of Finance’s Revenue and Insurance department.

Talking to The Indian Express from Surat,Dabhi said,“…I am fond of the ideology of AAP. They really want to work for betterment of the people across all sections. Seeing the results in Delhi,we realise that people have started accepting its ideology. Corruption is spread everywhere and it is difficult for a single man working in a government office or outside as civilian to eradicate it.”

AAP is gaining immense popularity in Surat with the membership crossing 3,000. It was 700 before the Delhi elections. In fact,three new members of AAP have opened three new offices at their work place- in Udhna,Varachha and Katargam. This,apart from its main office in Adajan area.

Kishor Desai from Surat said around 60 per cent of new members in the city are college students.

The AAP bug has bitten Vadodara too. Since December 8,AAP in Vadodara has seen a rise in the number of members by around 3,000. The party had about 500 workers in Vadodara before. The Vadodara AAP spokesperson,Bhushan Bhatt,said,“Many people have joined the party by visiting the office and filling up the membership forms with Rs 20 as token donation. Some have also joined the party through online registration. The response has been good from the people who are desperate for a change.”

Rajesh Agarwal,a member from Vadodara,said,“People say that the AAP volunteers have no experience of administration. But our candidates are more qualified and experienced than the politicians who ultimately rely on bureaucrats to run the show.”

In Rajkot,AAP is being led by Navinchandra Makwana — a retired district education officer. Makwana said the party has seen a rush in new registrations. Makwana added that AAP did not have an office in Rajkot and till recently and they used to hold meetings in gardens. However,a local businessman has now offered his place for use as office.

(Syed Khalique Ahmed from Ahmedabad,

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Aditi Raja from Vadodara,Kamal Saiyed from Surat and Gopal Kateshiya from Rajkot)