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11 lakh joined AAP in Bihar during special drive
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has claimed over 11.45 lakh people in Bihar enrolled themselves as the party members during its ‘Mein Bhi Aam Aadmi’ campaign which began on January 10 and ended on January 26.
According to the party’s IT department, another 1.6 lakh people from Bihar took online membership during the drive. In Patna, over one lakh people became AAP members. “After Uttar Pradesh, the highest number of members were enrolled in Bihar during the campaign,” an AAP leader said.
Somnath Tripathi, in charge of AAP affairs in Bihar and Jharkhand, told TOI the party was satisfied with the drive. “It has strengthened our desire to contest the Lok Sabha election from all the 40 seats in the state,” he said and added though the campaign had ended, people could still visit the party’s offices and take membership.
The party has divided its organisational structure in the state into four zones. Sources said Muzzafarpur zone with membership of 4.25 lakh during the drive topped the chart. As many as 55,000 people from East Champaran and Siwan joined AAP.
Mithilanchal zone that comprises 12 districts followed with 3.27 lakh membership. Kishanganj and Darbhanga recorded membership of over 50,000 each. Over 40,000 people joined the party in Purnia.
In Magadh zone, 3.08 lakh people took membership while 87,000 people became members in Bhagalpur zone comprising six districts.
However, Bihar watchers are sceptical about AAP’s poll performance in the state. “The figure of 11 lakh may look impressive, but it is a small number when compared to the population of the state,” said A N Sinha Institute of Social Studies director D M Diwakar. Besides, he added, it still remains to be seen how many members will actually vote for the party and whether the momentum remains sustained till the election. “Cadre-building is a difficult exercise especially for a party sans an ideology,” he pointed out.
Bihar unit figures at ongoing meet
At least six AAP leaders from the state are attending the party’s ongoing national council meeting in New Delhi. Talking to TOI over phone from Delhi, one of them Ratnesh Chaudhary said he raised the issue of growing criminalization of the party in Bihar besides other irregularities in the party’s state unit. “One of the three Political Affairs Committee members, Pankaj Gupta, has assured he will be coming in February to look into the matter,” he said.