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LS scan after Arvind protest

New Delhi, Jan. 27: The Aam Aadmi Party has started surveys in states to gauge the public mood and decide how many Lok Sabha seats it would contest.

Yogendra Yadav, psephologist and now a key party leader, had played a big role in sensing the public mood in Delhi ahead of last year’s Assembly elections. Party leaders said his talent was being used again.

“The process of surveys has already started in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. After the surveys are done, Yogendra Yadav would analyse them,” party general secretary Pankaj Gupta said.

Sources said the party also wanted to find out if its popularity had dipped or increased after Arvind Kejriwal’s recent protest in Delhi and the media criticism it had sparked. AAP leaders claimed Kejriwal’s “anarchist” protest against the police had struck a chord among rural voters.

The party has so far received some 5,000 applications for Lok Sabha tickets, including around 1,000 for Delhi’s seven constituencies. The applications received so far are from 250 Lok Sabha constituencies across the country, most of them from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana.

AAP leader Gopal Rai said there was nothing to suggest the party’s appeal had decreased after Kejriwal’s dharna. “The response to the membership drive shows the party has gone beyond cities and created an excitement in the rural areas,” Rai, in charge of the membership drive, said.

In the past 16 days, Rai added, nearly one crore people have joined the party, most of them from rural areas.

In Bengal, however, the response has been lukewarm. Only 20,000 people from the state have become members.