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28 social groups to join Aam Aadmi Party on January 18
THE Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is fast emerging as the preferred political platform for different social groups in Maharashtra. After Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), 28 social groups active in the fields of tribal welfare, farmers and women’s rights are set to join the party on January 18. These groups are led by activists from North Maharashtra, Vidarbha and Marathwada regions of the state. Prathibha Shinde of Loksanghar Manch, Shekar Sonalkar of Chatra Yuva Sangarsha Vahini, Abhijeet Hejshetti of Chatra Bharati, Shyam Nilangekar and Katha Asawe are some of the the activists who have decided to join the party. Working for many years at the ground level on various issues, these organisations have a very strong presence in the state.
Nearly 40,000 members of these organisations have now decided to join the party. For many of these social organisations, the name of AAP might be new, but its leader Arvind Kejriwal has been an old friend. Kejriwal had contacted Shinde and others to be the founding members of the party a year ago. In fact, he has been in touch with these organisations since his days as a social activist and had stayed with them to observe their work. Shinde’s Loksangharsha Manch has taken up the issue of tribal rights in Jalgaon, Dhule and Nandurbar. Sonalkar has been in various spheres of social activism and had been associated with JP Narayan’s movements too. But this is the first time many of these organisations are stepping into electoral politics. At present, Sonalkar’s Chatra Yuva Sangharsha Vahini works with students from various communities in the interior parts of Marathwada. These social groups started thinking of joining active politics after the success of AAP in Delhi elections. “Most of us had nothing to do with electoral politics but have practised extra-parliamentary politics. But for us, getting our due rights have been very difficult given the power structure of the present society.