The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday announced the names of former journalists Ashutosh and Jarnail Singh for two of Delhi’s seven Lok Sabha seats. Announcement of candidates for the other five seats is expected in a fortnight.
While Ashutosh joined the party after quitting as the Managing Editor of IBN7, Jarnail has worked with Dainik Jagran for over 15 years and made headlines for throwing a shoe at the then Home Minister P Chidambaram during a press conference in 2009. The gesture was a protest against government inaction in cases related to the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Party leaders, meanwhile, said they were sifting through over 1,000 applications for the remaining five seats and would “choose the candidates very carefully”. “Both these announcements have also come after a great deal of thought.
Jarnail Singh is very popular among the Sikh population of Delhi… Ashutosh has been a public figure during his long tenure in journalism…,” a party leader said.
Speaking to Newsline, Singh said it was during protests on the ’84 riots in May 2013 that he first came in contact with Arvind Kejriwal. “He had extended support to us last year when we held several protests in Delhi… While I was not at the forefront of the Assembly poll campaign in Delhi, I was supporting the party,” he said.
He said throwing a shoe at the former Home Minister in 2009 was a result of him losing all faith in the political class. “But after forming the government, Kejriwal immediately ordered an SIT probe into the ‘84 riots — something which neither the Congress nor the BJP has done in so many years. It was on Kejriwal’s insistence that I decided to contest the Lok Sabha polls,” Singh said.
“ …In the 10 Delhi Assembly constituencies which form the West Delhi Lok Sabha seat, not a single Congress leader has won. There is a definite anti-Congress wave there,” he said.
Ashutosh admitted the electoral battle in Chandni Chowk would not be easy. “Nobody has said that fighting against Kapil Sibal will be easy. But even in the Vidhan Sabha elections, people did not give us a chance. The party showed that it can achieve anything based on two aspects — clean governance and an army of volunteers. I am new to politics and once I take a deep breath, think about things calmly, I will start my campaign,” he said.
Party leaders said that an announcement on the remaining seats in Delhi will be made in another two weeks. “We have received 120-130 applications for each of the remaining five Lok Sabha seats in Delhi. Around 1,600 application forms were received, of which a little over 1,400 names were selected. The final candidates for the remaining seats should be out within the next 10-15 days,” a party leader said.