Only one Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, Chander Mukhi Sharma, out of the four who were called up by the party supremo, Arvind Kejriwal, has successfully filed his nomination paper. Three others were also directed to contest the civic body elections, who did not file their nominations, raising many eyebrows in the city political circle.
The three leaders include party convener, Prem Garg, vice-president and son of veteran politician Harmohan Dhawan, Vikram Dhawan, and party co-incharge Pardeep Chhabra. Sharma and Chhabra joined AAP after leaving Congress. Both have been the councillors twice and Chhabra was also the Chandigarh mayor.
Sharma, party’s election campaign chairman, filed his nomination from ward number 13 on December 3. Sources told the Indian Express, “Kejriwal’s call to senior party leaders directing them to contest the civic body elections was the result of various reports of resentment among the volunteers and infighting among local leaders supporting their close aides’ names for the tickets. Since the day Kejriwal made the call, the internal resentments, infighting were put on the rest.”
Interestingly, AAP convener, Prem Garg, said, “I was one of the leaders to receive a call from Kejriwal. But I have a bigger responsibility as the party convener. If I contest the elections, I have to focus only on my ward and cannot give attention to other wards, which would be an injustice to my responsibilities. So, in the larger interest I gave up the idea to contest.” Sources said Garg wanted ticket from ward number 13 but top leadership did not approve it.
Vikram Dhawan said, “Since the beginning, I was not keen to contest the elections. I conveyed it to AAP affairs’ in charge Jarnail Singh. In fact, I did not receive the message from Kejriwal directly. Indeed, my mother was a contender for the ticket but she also did not opt to fight the election.”
Chhabra said, “I did not file the nomination due to my ailing health and other personal reasons. I have some liver-related complications. But I am committed to the party. We will secure victory in all the wards.”
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