AAP releases all 70 names for Delhi polls; 23 new faces
The Aam Aadmi Party was the first among the major players off the blocks in declaring candidates, fielded 23 fresh faces.Updated: Jan 16, 2020 13:40 IST
With just over three weeks to go for the Delhi assembly elections on February 8, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced its candidates for all 70 constituencies in the national capital on Tuesday, dropping 15 while repeating 46 of its sitting legislators.
Altogether, the party, which was the first among the major players off the blocks in declaring candidates, fielded 23 fresh faces -- including replacement for five disqualified MLAs, and candidates in three of the four seats on which it does not hold power.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia, and five other cabinet ministers will contest the elections from constituencies that elected them to the assembly five years ago. The AAP list also featured prominent leaders such as Atishi, Raghav Chadha and Dilip Pandey, all of whom had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In the 2015 assembly polls, the party fielded candidates in 70 seats, winning 67 of them in a landslide victory. The AAP’s tally went down to 66 after its Rajouri Garden legislator resigned in 2017 to contest the Punjab elections, and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the seat in the by-election that followed.
Five candidates who won the 2015 elections were disqualified later over alleged anti-party activities -- Kapil Mishra, Alka Lamba, Devender Sehrawat, Anil Bajpai and Sandeep Kumar.
After the list was released on Tuesday, CM Kejriwal tweeted: “Best wishes to all. Don’t be complacent. Work very hard. People have a lot of faith in AAP and you. God bless.”
The AAP is up against the BJP and the Congress in the high-stakes elections. Results will be out on February 11.
For the third time, Kejriwal, the AAP national convener, will fight from the New Delhi seat, and deputy CM Sisodia from east Delhi’s Patparganj seat. Delhi assembly speaker Ram Niwas Goyal, too, will fight from the seat (Shahdara) he contested five years ago.
Chadha, Atishi and Pandey will contest from Rajendra Nagar, Kalkaji and Timarpur respectively.
Sisoida said the names were cleared by the party’s political affairs committee, and that the AAP fielded eight women candidates compared to the six in the previous polls. The party gave tickets to at least nine turncoats, who have joined the AAP over the past six months.
Shoaib Iqbal, a former Congress leader and five-time MLA from Matia Mahal, will contest the same seat on an AAP ticket. Asim Ahmed Khan, the AAP’s sitting MLA from Matia Mahal who was made the environment minister in Kejriwal government, failed to make the cut.
Prahlad Singh Sawhney, another former Congress leader and four-time MLA from Chandni Chowk, will contest the same seat as an AAP candidate. In 2015, Chandni Chowk, the constituency with the smallest electorate, was won by the AAP’s Alka Lamba, who switched over to the Congress in October.
The AAP also fielded senior Congress leader Mahabal Mishra’s son, Vinay Kumar Singh, from the Dwarka constituency, replacing Adarsh Shastri, who is the grandson of former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Saurabh Bhardwaj from Greater Kailash, Somnath Bharti from Malviya Nagar, Rituraj Jha from Kirari and Dinesh Mohaniya, who is a legislator from Sangam Vihar and is also the Delhi Jal Board’s vice-chairperson, will fight the seats they contested five years ago.
Rajya Sabha MP and former Delhi BJP chief Vijay Goel said, “The fact that they had to change one-third of their MLAs shows that there was anti-incumbency against them.”