The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is in talks with senior bureaucrats and hopes to announce the names of ‘a few big guns’ soon, the Hindustan Times has learnt. Among the people the party’s national executive is in touch with are: former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai, former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi and former diplomat KC Singh.
In a secretive exercise, privy only to a few including Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and national executive members Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, the trio is trying to persuade the retired bureaucrats to come on board.
Unwilling to reveal any names, AAP spokesperson Ashutosh confirmed to HT that the party was “approaching honest people with clean records”.
The former national accountant, Rai, who had a run-in with the UPA government over its report on the allocation of 2G spectrum, told HT that “politics was not his cup of tea," but added that he was “open to anybody who wants to tap into my wealth of experience.”
Denying that he had had any meeting with Kejriwal, Rai said, “I met law minister Somnath Bharti at the LG’s At Home function on January 26 and he told me, ‘we need people like you’.”
KC Singh, who retired as a secretary in the ministry of external affairs, did not deny that he was in talks with AAP. "There is a proposal. I have not made up my mind yet," he said. Meanwhile, sources revealed that Quraishi had first been approached a year ago to be AAP’s ombudsman and vet antecedents of candidates.
Quraishi too did not deny that the party had been in touch with him of late. “I know the senior AAP leadership very well but I don’t have any political intentions," he said, adding, "Their focus against corruption is a very good agenda and we must give them a chance... and not jump to conclusions by judging them in 30 days.”
The exercise, aimed at shoring up big, clean names that help AAP claim itself to be an anti-corruption party, will be completed soon. “There are more people we are in touch with but it would be immature to name the others as the negotiations are at a nascent stage," said an AAP leader who did not want to be named.