Delhi polls effect: 180 Punekars sign up as Aam Aadmis in 2 hours

After a dynamic performance that has thrown the Delhi assembly into a deadlock and forebodes a President’s Rule in the state, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is conquering the IT crowd in the city.

Between 5 and 7 in the evening on Sunday, during the first meeting of new members of the party since the Delhi polls result, as many as 180 people enrolled as AAP members on the spot.

Joining the party: Supporters make a beeline at the AAP meeting held at SM Joshi Hall in Navi Peth yesterday to become members. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

One of them, 42-year-old information technologist Dhananjay Khanzode, wishes to work as strategy planner in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections for the Pune unit of the party. Khanzode believes that he would be a perfect fit for the job in the AAP, which is coasting on the anti-corruption plank.

Building Support: An AAP member talks to party followers at the SM Joshi Hall in Navi Peth yesterday. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Khanzode is in good company. He is one of the 500 AAP supporters eager to jump on the AAP bandwagon. Over the last week following the results of the Delhi state polls, these voters decided to make their approval of the Arvind Kejriwal-led party official and sign up for its membership.

It was on December 8 that Delhi assembly election results were announced. The founder of the party had drubbed a three-time chief minister by 28,000 votes and stunned everyone by sending 27 other members to the state legislative assembly, all from humble family backgrounds. Ever since, say party office bearers in Pune, there has been a heavy rush for the online and on-the-spot membership.

“I took the AAP membership four days after the poll outcome in Delhi. Considering the current political scenario in which the performance of the two major national parties (BJP and Congress) is not up to the mark, I am sure AAP would do better even in Maharashtra. That’s the reason I was keen to become a member,” said Khanzode.

Vijay Ghogale (51), inspired by AAP’s groundbreaking delivery in Delhi, said he would like to be associated with the AAP. Though his busy work life kept him from taking up the party membership right away, he and his wife would volunteer to work for the party whenever required, he said.

Groundswell of support
Pune district’s AAP executive committee member Aabha Mulay said her inbox was inundated with congratulatory notes and requests for memberships. “My email account is flooded with messages from party supporters across the city, appreciating AAP’s debut performance in Delhi assembly elections. After the results, our supporters have now gained confidence and we arewitnessing their support transform into memberships,” she said.

Party functionaries said that most of the voters who approached them for membership or seeking to volunteer for party affairs,belong to the skilled and professional set of the work force and the middle class section of the society at large.

“At the time, professionals are leaning more towards AAP. And we are confident that in the next month, people from all layers of society would support us,” said Mulay. “In Sunday’s meeting alone, as many as 180 supporters took on-the-spot membership,” she said.

AAP national executive member Subhash Ware said that after the ballot spoke out in Delhi, people had gained more faith in the democratic system, that an entity other than the Congress or the BJP could deliver a better performance. 

Political biggies unfazed
Leaders from political giants Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress think that AAP would not be able to work its magic in Pune. BJP city chief Anil Shirole said that the party does not have a cadre in Pune. “Having followers does not necessarily mean that it would convert into votes for the party.”
Congress’ Member of Legislative Council Mohan Joshi said that the party had so far not worked to solve the problems faced by Puneites and, therefore, would not get success in the city.

Fact check
AAP, debuting in the Delhi state assembly elections, gained 28 of the 70 seats. 

The number of seats AAP won in its debut in the elections to the Delhi state assembly which has 70 seats 

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