The Aam Aadmi Party is looking to finish naming all 70 candidates for the coming Delhi assembly elections this month by releasing ‘one or two lists more’. The BJP and the Congress are yet to start the process.
In its three lists of 45 names announced so far, AAP has retained 18 outgoing MLAs, 11 candidates who lost in 2013, and fielded 16 new faces. Prominent among those who may feature in the remaining 25 names are Alka Lamba and Jarnail Singh.
Former National Students’ Union of India president Lamba quit the Congress and joined AAP a year ago and may contest from either Chandni Chowk or Timarpur. The former Delhi University Students’ Union president had held key posts in Congress, and also contested from Moti Nagar in 2003.
AAP’s Chandni Chowk candidate stood third in 2013. The party’s Timarpur outgoing MLA Harish Khanna said he would not contest because “there is lack of internal democracy in the party”.
Jarnail Singh was AAP’s West Delhi candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, and had lost to BJP’s Pravesh Verma. AAP may field Singh from Rajouri Garden. As a journalist in 2009, Singh had thrown a shoe at then home minister P Chidambaram during a press conference.
Days before polling in 2013, AAP had “dropped” its “tainted but not convicted” Rajouri Garden candidate Pritpal Singh Saluja, and had only 69 ‘official’ candidates.
By the time all remaining names are announced in the next two lists, the party is likely to end up dropping 35 of its 2013 candidates, including a maximum of nine outgoing MLAs. This is because the party is looking to field those who can win, and also fighting dissidence. Party sources say all 69 candidates will collectively name AAP’s chief ministerial face Arvind Kejriwal.
Devinder Sehrawat who fought and lost both the assembly and Lok Sabha elections may feature in the next lists. Mahendra Yadav, outgoing MLA from Vikaspuri, whose performance was under review, may be retained.
Deshraj Raghav may again fight from Uttam Nagar in the elections, dates for which have not been announced yet.