AAP expands, ropes in big names ahead of Lok Sabha polls

After a successful debut in the Delhi assembly polls, the Aam Aadmi Party led by anti-corruption crusader Arvind Kejriwal is eying the general elections due in May this year with plans to contest Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka etc.

The 23-member national executive of the newly formed party met at the Constitution Club in New Delhi in the morning to discuss its strategies for the Lok Sabha elections.

Meanwhile, the AAP's runaway success in the Delhi assembly elections has generated political interest among a whole lot of educated people across all walks of life and those who were reluctant to join politics are now showing willingness to join active politics.

Among some of the well-known names who joined the ranks of Aam Aadmi include former Infosys CFO Balakrishnan, aviation hero Capitan Gopinat.

The pioneer of low-cost airline in the country Capt G R Gopinath is the second corporate head from Bangalore to join AAP after former Infosys CFO V Balakrishnan joined the party on Thursday.

Rohit Ranjan, AAP convenor for Karnataka, said Capt Gopinath joined the party by applying for the membership online.

Balakrishnan, who left Infosys as CFO, is waiting for SEBI's approval for his private equity fund, which he has formed along with former Infosys executive Mohandas Pai and former Wipro executive Girish Paranjpe.

Capt Gopinath, who lost the Lok Sabha seat from Bangalore South constituency in 2009 as an independent candidate, however, he will have to clear his Rs260-crore dues to the State Bank of India before he is given any role in the party.

The former head of Air Deccan also had recently struck a deal with real estate company Sobha Developers to sell his property in Bangalore's Vittal Mallya Road.

The latest to join the AAP ranks include over 50 students from various colleges across the country, who have opted to intern with the party's Maharashtra unit.

It is, however, unlikely that Balakrishnan will be pitted against another former Infosysian and UID chief Nandan Nilekani who is said to be planning to contest as a Congress candidate from Bangalore South constituency.

The unbelievable success of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the Delhi assembly elections has generated much curiosity among people, who were hitherto reluctant to involve themselves in politics.

Now, attracted by AAP's brand of politics, more than 50 students from various colleges across the country have chosen to intern with the party's Maharashtra unit.

AAP, which started admitting interns only last month, said these recruits are hardworking and committed.

They are not earning anything and they say it doesn't matter for them and are attracted by AAP's fresh ideology that is a change the people have been seeking for long.