Ashish Khetan, investigative journalist and founder of the online news portal Gulail, became the latest journalist to join the ranks of those given a ticket by the Aam Aadmi Party. The AAP declared its fourth list of candidates Monday, its 61 names taking the number of declared candidates to 131.
Khetan has been fielded from the New Delhi seat where he will contest against senior Congress leader Ajay Maken. It was Gulail that had come out with a series of stories alleging that the Gujarat government had been spying on a woman, an incident the AAP has used repeatedly to target BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi with.
The fourth list also sees Colonel Devendra Singh Shekhawat named from South Delhi, with the party now having declared all seven parliamentarty seats in the national capital.
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The other big names finding their way in the list include V Balakrishnan, former CFO of Infosys, from the Bangalore Central seat, Professor Babu Mathew, part of the faculty of National Law School Bangalore and former country director of Action Aid India, from Bangalore North, and M R Vasudeva, former director of the Mangalore International Airport, from the Dakshin Kannada seat.
K Arkesh, former DIG of the CRPF, has been given the Chikballapur seat. It is a seat represented by the Congress’s Veerappa Moily, who has been accused by the AAP of conspiring with the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries to drive up the prices of gas from the Krishna Godavari basin. Moily was named in an FIR that the ACB was directed to look during Kejriwal’s 49-day tenure as chief minister of Delhi. The Congress has not yet renominated him.
The other big names against whom the AAP has fielded candidates in the fourth list include Kumari Selja, Ananth Kumar, HD Kumaraswamy Beni Prasad Verma, Maneka and Varun Gandhi and Mallikarjun Kharge.
The fourth list has a prominence of Uttar Pradesh, with 39 names from the state alone. For 10 of these 39, the party has named Muslims from the state. Among the most prominent among them is Maulana Kalbe Rushaid, a powerful Shia cleric in Uttar Pradesh, whom Kejriwal had welcomed into the party on the dais at his rally in Kanpur last week. Rushaid will contest from the Amroha parliamentary constituency.