The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday sought to explain the choice of businessman Sushil Gupta as one of its Rajya Sabha candidates in terms of realpolitik, saying that his induction may aid the party’s expansion plans in Haryana.
The party reached out to its volunteers through social media, with its Delhi convenor Gopal Rai making efforts to justify the choices which have led to resentment within the leadership as well as the AAP rank and file.
Rai rubbished charges of wheeling and dealing behind the nominations, saying such allegations, aimed at cutting short Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s political career, routinely surface as part of “game plans” hatched by his rivals.
He said Sushil Gupta, a billionaire businessman who runs a chain of private and charitable schools and hospitals in Delhi and Haryana, was picked due to “practical reasons” and N D Gupta for his expertise on the economy.
“We had formed government in Delhi with a dream of eliminating corruption, establishing Swaraj. But the Centre is not letting us work. They are being able to do this as Delhi is not a full state.
“The party needs a full state for bringing about the changes it desires. We tried that in Punjab. But Congress and BJP did not let us do that. The party feels that it can form government in Haryana. We have chosen him keeping our mission Haryana in mind,” Rai said.
Earlier in the day, Sanjay Singh and the two Guptas filed nominations. However, there was a stark contrast in the way the three candidates went about the process.
Singh received a rousing reception at the party headquarters before he went to file the nomination riding atop an open vehicle with senior leader Ashutosh by his side.
The presence of Ashutosh, who was among the Rajya Sabha hopefuls, is being seen as a message to the workers and volunteers that there was no bad blood between them and that the party remains united.
However, the two Guptas, who briefly dropped in at the AAP office as well, went to file the nominations separately in their own vehicles, accompanied by their family members.
The last date to file nominations for the three Rajya Sabha seats is January 5.
Elections would be held on January 16 as the terms of the incumbent members, Karan Singh, Janardan Dwivedi and Parvez Hashmi — all from the Congress — end on January 27.
The AAP, which enjoys a brute majority in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, is set to win all three seats.