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Tens of thousands join Aam Aadmi Party - 50,000 people sing up in first 3 hours

NEW DELHI, Jan 11, (AFP): India’s new anti-graft party has signed up tens of thousands of members in a nationwide recruitment drive as it seeks to build support ahead of general elections, an official said Saturday.

The Aam Aadmi (Common Man) Party plans to contest seats in the elections due by May following its success in the Delhi state polls last month in which it routed the scandal-tainted Congress party that rules at the national level. “We had nearly 50,000 people sign up in the first three hours of our membership drive,” senior party leader Gopal Rai told AFP. The party is spearheaded by Arvind Kejriwal, 44, a former taxman who has modelled himself as an anti-corruption activist and is now Delhi’s chief minister.

Observers say the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) popularity suggests it could become a bigger movement that could threaten the grip of the main parties, Congress, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on national politics.

The AAP has also drawn a string of high-profile recruits in a boost to its national aspirations and efforts to change the face of India’s graft-ridden politics. Prominent banker Meera Sanyal and G. R. Gopinath, the founder of a budget airline, are among those who have signed up with Kejriwal’s party.

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