Former Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and seven other erstwhile AAP ministers will figure in the Aam Aadmi Party’s first list of nearly 35 candidates for the upcoming assembly polls, likely to be released in a couple of days.
No candidate is expected to change their seat with Kejriwal seeking re-election from the New Delhi constituency, where he won a famous victory last year, defeating then CM Sheila Dikshit by over 25,000 votes. Of the seven party candidates in the Lok Sabha polls, only Rakhi Birla is set to make the list.
As reported by HT on Sunday, the party has decided to drop six sitting MLAs over concerns of poor performance. About 30 other candidates who finished a poor third or fourth in the last assembly elections are also unlikely to get tickets.
The novice party is fighting a resurgent BJP that is banking on PM Narendra Modi’s personal charm to win a majority in the 70-member house in polls likely early next year.
Despite winning 28 seats in a stunning debut in the 2013 assembly elections, the AAP government resigned within 49 days, saying they didn’t have the numbers to pass key legislation. The party has since seen a reversal of fortune, drawing a blank in the Capital in May’s general elections.
Party leaders Ashutosh and Ashish Khetan – both of whom fought the general elections – are busy with organizational work while Rajmohan Gandhi’s stature is too big to fight an assembly poll, the AAP said.
“Barring Gandhi, all six LS candidates are in contention for assembly poll tickets. They are well known and--despite defeats--got a lot of votes, pushing Congress candidates to the third slot,” said a senior party leader.
Like the 2013 elections, the AAP wants to be ahead of both the BJP and the Congress in selecting candidates so that its picks have more time to campaign. “We announced about 50 names a good six months before the elections. This allowed us to complete door-to-door campaigning in as many as 60 of the 70 constituencies,” said the leader.
The party is also working to finalise the rest of the 35-odd candidates. “Volunteer meetings are happening in the presence of our observers. We will decide on names that are emerging from these meetings,” he said.