The Aam Aadmi Party sounded the election bugle on Thursday by announcing its first list of candidates for Delhi, even before the poll dates have been announced. The list has 22 names, including four ministers who served in the fleeting AAP government. But it does not include party heavyweights such as Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia or Rakhi Birla.
Each of the 22 candidates had contested the December 2013 Assembly elections. There are 12 sitting MLAs and of the 10 remaining names, seven had finished second.
The big names in the list include former transport minister Saurabh Bhardwaj from Greater Kailash, former law minister Somnath Bharti from Malviya Nagar, former health minister Satyendra Jain from Shakur Basti, and ex-labour minister Girish Soni from Madipur. The AAP has also included the names of “high-performance MLAs” such as Sanjeev Jha from Burari, Bandana Kumari from Shalimar Bagh and and Tilak Nagar MLA Jarnail Singh.
Of the 10 candidates that are not sitting MLAs, three finished third, one lost by a margin of over 8,000 votes and the remaining were behind by merely 4,000. “All those who finished second from their respective seats and continued to be active in their constituencies have been given tickets,” a senior party leader said.
“Bhavna Gaur from Palam, for instance, ran the campaign for the South Delhi parliamentary seat. There are three candidates who have been given tickets despite finishing third in the last elections. This is because of their efforts to establish the party in their constituencies over the past few months. Anil Bajpai from Gandhi Nagar, for example, played a major role in organising RWAs for the party.”
Sanjay Singh, chairperson of the party’s Delhi Election Committee said the 22 names would now be put up on the party’s website, and a “public audit” will be conducted. “The party elects its candidates based on three parameters: there are no corruption cases against them, there is no criminal case, and they have no record of misbehaviour against members of the public,” he said.
“If anybody has complaints against our candidates, and can come to us with proof, they will be changed even if it is the last day before polls.”
A three-member committee of Anand Kumar, Ashish Khaitan, and Rishiraj has been set up to look into any such complaints.