The Aam Aadmi Party declared its fifth list of candidates Wednesday, with more journalists, IPS officers and social activists against Congress and BJP heavyweights. The list has 56 candidates, taking the total to 187.
Former CNN journalist Anita Pratap, who once interviewed LTTE chief Prabhakaran, has been fielded from Kerala’s Ernakulam against Congress MP K V Thomas. She joins seven former journalists in the AAP list.
The party’s six candidates for Kerala include advocate and activist Anil Aickara from Kottayam against Jose K Mani, the sitting MP.
For Baramati, the party has fielded retired IPS officer Suresh Khopade against Sharad Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule.
Sanjay Apranti, another officer with the state police, will contest from Raigad, a seat currently represented by Shiv Sena MP Anant Gite. The Maharashtra police website states Apranti has been kept on “compulsory waiting”. He has served as SP, Raigad.
From Hatkanangle in western Maharashtra, the AAP has given the ticket to farmer leader Raghunath Patil. The seat is represented by Raju Shetty of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana, with whom AAP was keen for a tie-up but who chose to go with the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance.
Param Vir Chakra award winner Captain Vikram Batra’s mother, Kamal Kant Batra, will contest against Anurag Thakur in Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh.
IIM Bangalore alumnus and engineer Satish Jain will contest from Mumbai North. Another software engineer, 28-year-old Sandeep Kumar, has been fielded from Munger against Rajiv Ranjan Singh of the JD(U).
Among three candidates announced for SC seats, Dalit activist Geeta Arya will contest the polls from Sasaram. A former JD(U) secretary and head of the Mahadalit Sangathan of the Valmiki Samaj in Bihar, Arya follows former minister Parveen Amanullah from the JD(U) into the AAP.
AAP candidates have been declared for most of the seats in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Shazia said no to Sonia’s Rae Bareli
Shazia Ilmi had turned down an AAP ticket from Rae Bareli, she and her party have conceded. For close to two months, there has been talk about her having been offered the chance to contest against Sonia Gandhi, just as Kumar Vishwas is fighting Rahul Gandhi in Amethi.
In a tweet on Tuesday, Ilmi wrote, “Im not contesting fro Rae Bareli… I never agreed to nor do I now …” Sanjay Singh of the AAP said, “We had requested her to stand against Sonia Gandhi but she did not agree… This is her decision and we respect it.” Ilmi said, “I conveyed that I did not want to stand from there as i have very little connect with Rae Bareli. Further, there are personal reasons involved as well as my daughter has exams.” The controversy comes at a time when Kumar Vishwas has been tweeting couplets seemingly indicative of his unhappiness with ticket distribution. He played them down: “I have no differences with the party, and the couplets are being misunderstood.”