3 MLAs, one former Congress MP in AAP’s picks for 4 Delhi Lok Sabha seats | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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3 MLAs, one former Congress MP in AAP’s picks for 4 Delhi Lok Sabha seats

ByAlok KN Mishra, New Delhi
Feb 28, 2024 11:54 AM IST

The announcement was made after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the AAP’s political affairs committee, the party’s highest decision-making body

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday named four candidates, three of whom are sitting legislators in Delhi, for the Lok Sabha elections from the national Capital and one from Haryana, days after the party announced a seat-sharing pact with the Congress, which will contest the other three seats in the city and nine in Haryana.

The Congress will contest the North East Delhi, North West Delhi, and Chandni Chowk seats. (File photo)
The Congress will contest the North East Delhi, North West Delhi, and Chandni Chowk seats. (File photo)

Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti will contest the New Delhi seat, Tughlakabad legislator Sahiram Pahalwan from South Delhi, Kondli MLA Kuldeep Kumar from East Delhi, and senior party leader Mahabal Mishra will represent the AAP in West Delhi. Sushil Gupta will, meanwhile, contest from Kurukshetra in Haryana.

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The Congress will contest the North East Delhi, North West Delhi, and Chandni Chowk seats and party leaders are likely to shortlist names for the three constituencies in a meeting later this week, said officials aware of the matter.

The announcement was made after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the AAP’s political affairs committee, the party’s highest decision-making body.

The alliance between the two sides marked a significant fillip for the troubled Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), after months of back-and-forths and public verbal jostles.

All seven seats in Delhi are currently held by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 2019, the Congress came second in five seats — East Delhi, West Delhi, New Delhi, North East Delhi and Chandni Chowk — and the AAP in two — North West Delhi and South Delhi. In 11 years since it was formed, the AAP has never won a Lok Sabha seat in the Capital.

AAP leaders Atishi, Gopal Rai and Sandeep Pathak unveiled the list of candidates during a press briefing, saying they were chosen for their “winnability” and hailed them for being “accessible to people”.

“The decision to field these candidates was taken after considering all factors, including several studies, so that we can win these seats and fulfil our responsibility in the INDIA alliance to protect the Constitution and democracy,” said Rai.

One of the party’s most popular and senior-most leaders, Bharti is a three-time MLA from Malviya Nagar. He has also served as vice-chairperson of the Capital’s water utility, the Delhi Jal Board, since March 2023.

Pahalwan, a former deputy mayor of the erstwhile South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), is a two-term MLA from Tughlakabad.

Kumar won the Kondli assembly seat in the 2020 elections and was a councillor in East Delhi municipal corporation from 2017 to 2020.

Mishra, meanwhile, is a three-term Congress MP from West Delhi and is a popular leader from the Purvanchali community, which is a key voter bloc in the Capital. He joined the AAP in November 2022 ahead of the MCD elections. His son Vinay Mishra was elected as MLA on a party ticket from Dwarka.

Kejriwal, who released a video message minutes after the announcement, called Kumar’s candidacy a “revolutionary step”.

“A revolutionary step has been taken by giving a ticket to Kuldeep Kumar, who comes from a scheduled caste community, from East Delhi, which is a general seat,” he said.

“The AAP does not believe in casteism. The AAP believes that everyone is equal, and if someone is capable, they can be fielded from that seat,” Kejriwal said.

Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely said the INDIA grouping will bag all seven seats in the Capital.

“The AAP-Congress alliance is going to win all seven seats because the people are fed up with the BJP MPs, who have been away from the people for the last five years and the overall disappointment of the people with the PM Narendra Modi government due to inflation, unemployment, the trampling of the democracy and eroding the constitutional values of the country among other issues,” said Lovely.

The AAP is also contesting this summer’s national elections in alliance with Congress in Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Goa and Chandigarh.

Pathak said the party has proposed the formation of a coordination committee with the Congress for the Lok Sabha elections.

“We have made a proposal for forming a coordination committee with the Congress. We hope it materialises soon,” he said.

Delhi BJP Virendra Sachdeva called the AAP’s announcement “insignificant”.

“All seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi will go to BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership. The AAP’s defeat is also certain because of its corruption and Kejriwal’s deceitfulness,” he said.

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