Expected be the first off the block in zeroing in on candidates, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday finalised a list of approximately 30 candidates for Punjab and 10 for Goa.
A marathon meeting of the Political Affairs Committee (PAC), the party’s top decision-making body, met with key representatives from Goa and Punjab units to finalise the second and third lists, respectively.
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While no names are being outed – they are expected to be announced in a couple of days – sources said among those who have made the cut from Punjab are former journalist Kanwar Sandhu (Kharar constituency) and Sukhpal Singh Khaira (Boluth). A former Punjab Congress leader, Khaira had joined AAP late last year.
The party had announced 32 candidates for Punjab in August and is set to release the third list in a couple of days. This will leave just over 50 constituencies open in the state. “These (too) are likely to be finalised by the end of this month. The complete list has to be released by October-end,” a PAC member said.
Explaining how the party finalises candidates, a PAC member, who did not want to be named, said, “A meeting of active volunteers is called in each constituency to propose 20 names, from which five are shortlisted. The campaign committees propose these names at PAC meetings. (In today’s meet) between 30 and 35 candidates were finalised for Punjab, and roughly 10 for Goa.”
Punjab has 117 Assembly seats, and Goa has 40. The new party is expected to give a tough fight to the ruling BJP-led NDA and opposition Congress in both states in the polls scheduled early next year.
Today’s meeting also discussed the Army’s surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control and condemned Pakistan’s ‘malicious propaganda’. The party’s top leadership also condemned “politics” over the issue by the BJP and reaffirmed that it stands by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on issues of national security.
Referring to AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s video message, in which he had “saluted” Modi for the strikes and urged him to “counter” Pakistan’s propaganda, PAC member Sanjay Singh said, “We salute the spirit of the Army and the Prime Minister for the surgical strikes…. On national security we are always with him. But even before the pyres of martyrs have cooled down, the BJP has started vote-bank politics in Uttar Pradesh and Goa. That is unfortunate and we condemn it. Let us not politicize the deaths of our martyrs.”