New Delhi: As India gears up for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, it promises to be a tough contest between Congress-led UPA, BJP-led NDA, several regional outfits including the Aam Aadmi Party. AAP, which made a spectacular debut in Delhi Assembly elections, will be contesting at a national level in the Lok Sabha elections.
After the party announced its entry at the national level, AAP strongman Arvind Kejriwal refused to contest Lok Sabha polls. He said, "I will not fight 2014 Lok Sabha polls but will campaign for the party."
AAP leader Prashant Bhushan on Saturday said that the party will fight the upcoming 2014 Lok Sabha polls in the maximum number of states and in as many seats as possible.
"People now want an alternative to the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. AAP will fight the Lok Sabha elections in all the states in maximum posible seats. Candidates will be verified in the states and at the district level," said Bhushan.
He added, "AAP executive meet will continue tomorrow. Today we discussed the political situation of the country."
While addressing a press conference, Bhushan stressed that AAP is a people's movement, not a political party.
Another AAP leader Sanjay Singh said, "We will finalise candidates for the general elections over the next one month and the selection criteria will be similar to that of Delhi polls, but we haven't decided the prime ministerial candidate yet."
Taking a dig at the AAP, Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Aggarwal had said that the party is still new and it needs to grow first.
With an eye on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the AAP has announced that it will declare the first list of its candidates who will contest the elections within two weeks. The decision comes after the party's national executive committee met on Friday to formulate a plan of action for the upcoming general elections.
After its recent victory in Delhi, there have been indications that it is keen on enhancing its presence nationally. The party's national executive meeting comes as the party finishes one week in governance in Delhi on Saturday and has already won the confidence motion.
"We have always said that contest between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi for the prime miniterial post is not a good signal. We should have a better alternative. It is my dream that Arvind Kejriwal becomes the prime minister but it depends on a lot of things including the party strength in numbers. So it is too early to say anything," party ideologue Yogendra Yadav had said before the meeting.
"We will discuss our strategy for Lok Sabha polls. We will discuss the process to select candidates and see how we can channelise the enthusiasm which is present in our cadre after the win in Delhi polls," added AAP leader Gopal Rai.
Party leaders have already said that they plan to expand their presence outside Delhi. Buoyed by its spectacular victory in the Delhi Assembly elections in which it managed to secure 28 seats in the 70-member House, the party now aims to fight Lok Sabha polls in many states including Gujarat, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The party has seen a considerable increase in its membership throughout the country in the last few months especially after the Delhi results. A number of top corporate executives including former Infosys board member V Balakrishnan, banker Meera Sanyal and Air Deccan founder Captain Gopinath have joined the party.
AAP passed its first test in the Delhi Assembly on Thursday with the Congress party extending its support during the trust vote. Apart from winning the trust vote and winning the election for Delhi Assembly Speaker, the party has put an end to red beacons in cars in the Delhi Secretariat.
The party has so far successfully delivered on its poll promises of providing free water and cutting electricity rates in the national capital.