The Aam Aadmi Party has begun scouting for new faces ahead of the upcoming assembly elections in Delhi, days after it decided to drop half of the 70 candidates it fielded in the 2013 polls.
The party is holding frantic volunteer meetings in ‘vacant’ constituencies, faced with an uphill task of taking on BJP, which is relying solely on brand Modi. In the presence of AAP’s election observers, volunteers will name their candidates and give written feedback.
“The favoured ones have to apply. The political affairs committee will take the final call based on the recommendations from our local election campaign committee,” said a senior AAP leader. The date for the Delhi assembly polls is yet to be announced.
The party is racing against time as it wants to finish the selection process quickly. “Like in the last assembly polls, AAP would be first off the block in announcement of tickets. This allows more time for campaigning. AAP doesn’t have resources to pump in at the last moment. We need to campaign hard,” he said.
The party hopes most new names will emerge from volunteers meets. “Since
AAP has a presence across all constituencies and it made a fine debut, people from other parties are also in touch with us for tickets,” said another AAP leader.
Of the 70 party picks in the last election, only 37 are likely to get tickets this time round after a party survey and volunteer feedback suggested that 30-odd candidates were not working hard and avoided public interaction.
Prominent among the six legislators facing the axe are former assembly speaker Maninder Singh Dhir (Jangpura) and Raju Dhingan, the MLA from Trilokpuri, where more than 70 people were recently injured in riots.
Dhingan was accused of not doing enough to restore normalcy in the east Delhi neighbourhood.