The fate of people keen to contest Lok Sabha elections on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ticket is expected to be decided within a week for Chandigarh and Ludhiana. For, the party has begun the screening of the applicants, having already interviewed seven applicants from Chandigarh and five for the Ludhiana seat at Delhi on Wednesday.
A message was sent to the aspirants that their names had been shortlisted for interview. In all, around 250 people applied for the ticket from Chandigarh, including professionals, businessmen and even government employees willing to resign and join politics. The party had stopped receiving applications from here on February 8.
From Chandigarh, applicants called for the interview were businessman HK Arora, advocate Ram Lakshman Mittal Kasiwal, doctor Munish Kumar Raizada, PEC University of Technology professor Krishan Kumar Garg, retired engineer from Punjab government Palwinder Singh Bajwa, social worker Meena Sharma, and another person named Pawan.
The frontrunner is Raizada, a doctor from Chicago, who has relatives in the city. He had joined the party in 2011. In June 2013, he quit his job and came to India, and served the AAP in Delhi. The doctor has roots in Haryana.
Another prominent name is Prof Garg, 61, who has been teaching electrical engineering since 1977, and says he'd resign if he got the ticket. "Following encouragement from students and friends, I applied for the ticket. I am a student as well as a teacher of the system, and through an elected position I want to bring about a change," said Garg.
High court advocate Kasiwal, 51, who also went for the interview, said, "I had always thought of serving the society, and want to do something fruitful by contesting through the party."
Senior advocate HS Phoolka is the frontrunner from Ludhiana constituency. Phoolka, a social activist who has been fighting for justice for victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh victims, appeared for the interview, besides Dr Amandeep Bains, lawyer Vishal Moudgil, social worker Ruchi Bawa, businessman Rakesh Kapoor and Daljit Singh. Moudgil said he wanted to contest to establish 'swaraj' (self-rule) in the country. Bawa said, "As I am already into social work, I can contribute significantly."
AAP's central observer Rajeev Godara said, "The screening process of all constituencies is already on, and the decision of calling applicants is being done at the central level. I am not directly involved with the screening."
Applicants said chances were bleak that more people would be called for interview. The candidates were asked the reason why they wanted to contest, since how long they had been associated with the party, and also asked to describe the party's basic ideology of 'swaraj'.