The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday named new candidates on 14 municipal seats for the April 23 civic polls in the Capital, even as the party leaders refused to share the reasons behind the decision to replace candidates saying “it was an in-principle agreement not to share what led to it”.
While the decision set cats among the pigeons with candidates on the receiving hand rushing to party office seeking explanations, AAP leadership’s decision not to make public the reasons is a departure from the past for the Arvind Kejriwal-led party, which has been a votary of “transparency” in candidate selection.
While no formal announcement was made about it, another candidate from Manglapuri in Dwarka, Vijay Pawadia, was replaced few days back by Narendra Singh, taking the total number of replaced candidates to 15.
Those dropped from the list complained were taken aback as their names of those dropped were announced over a fortnight ago and they have been campaigning aggressively, party’s decision not to share the reasons is a departure from the past for AAP, which has been a votary of “transparency” in candidate selection.
“The PAC (political affairs committee) reviewed the candidate list and 14 names have been changed,” AAP (Delhi) convenor, Dilip Pandey told reporters at the party office.
In response to a specific question about the reasons behind changing the candidates over a fortnight after naming them, Pandey said unlike earlier the party leadership has decided not to make the decision public.
Till now, AAP has announced candidates on 268 out of 272 municipal seats across North, South and East Delhi municipal corporations. In fact, the first list of candidates was announced on February 20 and names of about 248 candidates were announced by March 11, three days before the state election commission announced the poll dates.
Pawadia, who was at the party office on Thursday to argue his case, claimed that his candidature has been changed on the grounds of a criminal case against him but the fact remains that he has been cleared of all charges in court.
“I was informed earlier this week that Narendar Singh was being fielded in my place. I spoke to the senior leaders and have shown them the papers and the latest updates related to my case, which was filed a year ago,” Pawadia said.
Several candidates who have been dropped flocked to the party office and met senior leaders like Sanjay Singh and Dilip Pandey.
Another candidate, Babita, who was earlier named party nominee from Nangloi Jat said she was “depressed” as she has been campaigning in her constituency for past several days.
“I have already completed one-round of door-to-door campaigning in my ward. I have also spent my hard earned money in getting posters, billboards and other campaigning material. I was fielded as a women candidate from a general seat and the party was pitching this as path breaking. But now they have fielded somebody who is almost an outsider for the party,” said Babita
While applications were invited from interested candidates, party had set up screening committees at the district and state level to scrutinise and finalise names which were finally approved by the political affairs committee (PAC), the highest decision-making body of the party.
Party Candidates were replaced in Adarsh Nagar, Laxmi Park, Delhi Gate, Haiderpur, Jama Masjid, Karampura, Vishnu Garden, Khayala, Karawal Nagar-E, Nand Nagri, Sriniwaspuri, Govindpuri, Jaitpur and Kishanganj.