Moving a step ahead of the ruling Congress and opposition BJP, Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party on Friday announced a rainbow of aspirants who have been shortlisted to contest the assembly polls due in November this year.
The aspirants include social activists, businesswomen, lawyers, student leaders and former CISF personnel.
“We received 106 applications for 12 constituencies. Of these, 44 have been shortlisted. While shortlisting names, we have ensured they were honest and did not have a tainted background. I dare the Congress and the BJP to give tickets to candidates with clean record,” said Arvind Kejriwal, while announcing the candidates on Friday.
“We will announce the names of shortlisted candidates from other constituencies in the next few days. We hope to complete the screening process and announce the final list of candidates by July-end,” Kejriwal said.
Prominent among the shortlisted candidates are party spokesperson Manish Sisodia and active member Shazia Ilmi for the Patparganj and RK Puram assembly seats, respectively.
He said these names were shortlisted by the screening committee after a careful check on their background and their popularity in the respective constituencies. In 2008 assembly elections, the Congress and the BJP had fielded 19 candidates with criminal cases while the BSP had given tickets to 15 such candidates.
Kejriwal said his party was against nepotism and dynastic politics and it would not give tickets to two candidates from one family. The constituencies from which shortlisted candidates have been announced include Greater Kailash, Malviya Nagar, RK Puram, Patparganj, Trilokpuri, Seemapuri, Bijwasan, Najafgarh, Matia Mahal, Matiala, Kondli and Sadar Bazar.
He said the party will not admit more applications for these constituencies but people are free to apply for the remaining 58 seats.
Explaining the final selection process, Kejriwal said the names of the shortlisted candidates will now be put up on the party’s website for 15 days to invite information and suggestions from the general public.
The candidates will have to participate in debates followed by preferential voting by AAP volunteers. The results will be discussed by the political affairs committee and the candidate will be finalised, he added. Kejriwal said his party had collected over Rs. 2 crore in past couple of months, transferred online into its account, which would be used to fund elections. “We don’t accept money from anonymous donors,” he said.