Socialist leader Subhash Ware will be the Aam Aadmi Party’s candidate from Pune Lok Sabha constituency where he faces challenge from the Congress and the BJP who have been traditional rivals. Among the “strong contenders” for the seat, AAP is the first one to have declared the name of its candidate, even though the final dates for elections are yet to be announced. The Congress and the BJP are still grappling with several “key names”.
The central leadership of AAP declared Ware’s name in New Delhi on Sunday but kept the suspense on for other seats like Maval, Baramati and Shirur in Pune district. Ware pipped former bureaucrat Arun Bhatia and realtor D S Kulkarni in the race to emerge as the party choice.
Though not an AAP member, Bhatia was trying hard to get the party’s nomination. After being denied ticket, he wasted no time in slamming the leadership, saying it “does not believe in supporting honest candidates”. “I am disappointed and surprised AAP did not pick me. I have nothing against Ware, but on merits I deserved to be nominated,” said Bhatia, stressing that there was “no difference between Congress, NCP, BJP and the AAP”. “They have nothing to do with honest and truthful candidates,” he said.
Bhatia said a letter that he wrote to AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal against party leader Prashant Bhushan could be the reason why AAP cold-shouldered him. “After applying for AAP ticket, I had written to Kejriwal urging him to remove Prashant Bhushan from any post that he holds in the party. This is because there have been charges against Bhushan regarding his Noida plots and he has never clarified on the controversy,” he said.
Stating that he would now contest as an Independent, Bhatia said his fight would be against the BJP as the Congress had “lost fizz”. “Besides, I will highlight the double standards practised by AAP leadership,” said Bhatia who had twice unsuccessfully contested from the Pune seat. Bhatia had created ripples when he decided to enter politics in 2004. He secured 70,000 votes that year and managed only 30,000 votes in 2009.
Realtor D S Kulkarni, who was also hoping for an AAP ticket, too, debunked the party. He said there was a distinct “lack of transparency” on part of the party in allotting tickets. “We were asked to apply online and we did, but post that we did not understand how the tickets were given,” he said. Stating that the process smelt of the “high command culture” and it was not expected out of AAP, Kulkarni said he would not contest the election this time.
Meanwhile, Ware said their campaign had started last year itself. “We continued…