The Telegraph
Friday , April 4 , 2014
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Run a family and country at 21

New Delhi, April 3: The Aam Aadmi Party today said the minimum age for contesting elections should be lowered from 25 to 21.

“If a man is allowed to get married at 21 and is eligible to vote at 18, he can also stand for elections at 21,” party convener Arvind Kejriwal said, speaking at a media conference to unveil the AAP manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Asked if there should be an upper age limit too for contesting, he said he agreed with the idea but it needed further debate.

Party leaders Yogendra Yadav, Gopal Rai, Manish Sisodia and Prashant Bhusan were also present at the conference.

The manifesto, which largely sticks to the AAP’s pet agenda of a “corruption-free India”, promised to bring in sweeping electoral reforms.

“The two big parties are spending thousands of crores on election campaigns. How do they have money to put up so many billboards and advertisements on television and radio during each commercial break? Post elections, they will recover this money from us,” Kejriwal said.

Among the party’s top priorities was an effective Jan Lokpal bill that would cover everyone from “peon to Prime Minister” and ensure “certain and swift punishment” for the corrupt.

The manifesto had echoes of that of the Congress released last week: a citizens’ charter, which promises timely delivery of services, and judicial accountability are common to both. The AAP also wants all media groups to be accountable to ensure “political and financial transparency”.

The party clarified its stand on nuclear power. “Everywhere around the world nuclear power is being phased out as it poses grave risk to people living in the vicinity (of plants). In principle, we will not want to promote nuclear power,” Kejriwal said.

The manifesto reiterated the party’s stand against FDI in retail. “In principle we are not against foreign direct investment. But sector-wise analysis needs to be done. We have seen that in whichever country FDI in retail has been implemented, it has resulted in large-scale unemployment,” Kejriwal said.

On Kashmir, Kejriwal said the manifesto clearly mentions Kashmir as an integral part of India.