The Telegraph
Friday , May 16 , 2014
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AAP eyes national party status

New Delhi, May 15: Wanted, a passport to the national party club.

Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party no longer expects a big-bang entry into Parliament but on result-day eve the rookie outfit was keeping fingers crossed, hoping for enough seats and a vote share that could bring it the status of a national party.

For that, the AAP has to fulfil any one of two conditions set by the Election Commission. It needs to poll at least 6 per cent of the valid votes cast in at least four states and win at least four Lok Sabha seats overall, or it has to win at least 2 per cent of the total Lok Sabha seats, that is 11 of 543, spread over at least three states.

AAP leaders said they were confident of winning more than four seats and polling over 6 per cent votes in three states but were not sure about the fourth state. “In Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, we are sure to win seats and also poll more than 6 per cent votes. But we are unsure about the fourth state that would give us 6 per cent votes,” an AAP leader said.

For the fourth state, the party is eyeing small states like Goa and others in the Northeast.

AAP leaders had realised much earlier that the buzz created by their stunning performance in the Delhi Assembly polls had fizzled out in the Lok Sabha elections. The party, however, went ahead and fielded 434 candidates across the country, hoping to become eligible to be recognised as a national party. “Don’t count our MPs, weigh them,” Kumar Vishwas, who contested against Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, tweeted today.

Party leaders feel that even if the AAP wins only a couple of seats, it could make an impact in the Lok Sabha. The AAP hopes to win at least three of the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi, a similar number from Punjab and a few others from elsewhere in the country.

The excitement witnessed inside and outside the AAP office a couple of months back was missing today. The usually crowded party office in central Delhi appeared deserted. The leaders were missing and only a small group of volunteers and office-bearers could be spotted.

Party chief Kejriwal, however, put up a brave front and declared that he would leave for Varanasi tomorrow by a morning flight. Party insiders said Kejriwal was confident he had put up a good fight in Varanasi and even if Narendra Modi wins, his margin would be low.

“Kejriwal is a fighter and he will not give up easily. Our ground reports from Varanasi say that people have voted in big numbers,” said a senior AAP leader. “Don’t be surprised if you get a surprise result.”