iconimg Tuesday, March 31, 2015

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 26, 2014
Six people are on an indefinite fast since Saturday at the Aam Aadmi Party’s Hanuman Road office against the likely candidature of former Delhi minister Rakhi Birla from the Northwest Delhi Parliamentary seat. The protesters are alleging a “lack of transparency” in candidate selection and have accused the party of not following the set procedure.

Although there has been no official announcement, sources said Birla’s name is near certain. Posters and boards indicating her candidature have already come up across the constituency.

Mohd Saffruddin Ansari, a resident of Bawana, said, “In the case of (expelled party MLA Vinod Kumar) Binny, the party said no sitting MLA would be allowed to contest for the Lok Sabha. Whatever happened to that rule?”

There were as many as 162 applicants for the seat. “Was there no suitable candidate from among them? The central leadership seems to have taken the decision without consulting the local volunteers. Where is the procedure?” Ansari, associated since the 2011 anti-graft movement, said.

Senior party leader Gopal Rai held a meeting with the protesters along with Bandana Kumari, AAP’s Shalimar Bagh MLA. “The question of sitting MLA not contesting Lok Sabha was valid when the party was in government. The situation is different now,” Rai told HT.

“I told them if they have any complaints against her (Birla), they should give it in writing and if they can suggest a better candidate, they should come forward with names,” Rai said.

Party members from Moradabad, Chandni Chowk, Nagpur and Ludhiana among other places have also voiced concerns over similar reasons.