Politics

Delhi Assembly Polls: AAP Drops 15 Sitting MLAs in List of 70 Candidates

Among newly joined members fielded by AAP is former Congress leader Ram Singh Netaji, who entered the party just a day ago.

New Delhi: Clearly eager to capitalise on the early mover’s advantage, Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party announced its complete list of 70 candidates for the Delhi Assembly elections, voting for which will take place on February 8.

While the party has dropped 15 sitting MLAs, it has given tickets to several new faces.

Among prominent candidates are chief minister Arvind Kejriwal who had been elected from New Delhi, and his deputy Manish Sisodia, whose constituency is Patparganj. AAP is looking to form the government for the third consecutive time in Delhi.

Three leaders who lost LS polls get another chance

Several young party leaders who had contested the Lok Sabha elections, but lost, have now been given an opportunity to enter the Delhi assembly. These candidates include adviser to Sisodia and one of the architects of Delhi’s educational reforms, Atishi, who will contest from Kalkaji. Incidentally, Kalkaji is also the constituency of three-term Congress MLA and its present Delhi unit president Subhash Chopra.

Another senior leader, Dilip Pandey, who had contested opposite Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari and former chief minister Sheila Dikshit from North East Delhi Lok Sabha seat last year will now be contesting from Timarpur.

Also read: How Fiscally Profligate is Delhi’s AAP Government Really?

Likewise, Raghav Chadha who was the party candidate from South Delhi has now been fielded from Rajendra Nagar. Another young face of the party and spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj has been given the ticket from Greater Kailash.

Among the ministers in Kejriwal’s cabinet, Satyendra Jain has been fielded from Shakur Basti, Gopal Rai from Babarpur, Rajendra Pal Gautam from Seemapur, and Imran Hussain from Ballimaran.

Congress turncoats also get tickets

The party has also given tickets to several former Congress leaders who had joined it in the recent past. These include former MLAs Parlad Singh Sawhney from Chandni Chowk, Shoaib Iqbal from Matia Mahal and Ram Singh Netaji from Badarpur. Incidentally, Netaji had joined AAP only a couple of days ago along with the son of former Congress MP Mahabal Mishra, Vinay Kumar Mishra, who has been fielded by the party from Dwarka.

Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goyal is the party’s candidate from Shahdara.

The party, which in 2015 got a record 67 seats riding on the back of large support from Muslims, Scheduled Castes and Sikhs, has this time fielded five Muslim candidates and two Sikhs.

Kejriwal tells candidates not to be complacent

After the release of the list Kejriwal urged the candidates to not be “complacent” and to “work very hard.” He had earlier declared that the party would contest these elections on the plank of “development” and a “positive” campaign.

Sisodia, speaking to reporters, said that as an improvement upon the number of women who were given tickets by AAP in 2015 (six), this time, eight women candidates have been fielded.

Manifesto to be announced soon

AAP is now expected to announce its manifesto. In the 2015 elections it had made 70 promises, which it claimed at the time of the release of its “report card” last month that it had completely fulfilled.

This time the party manifesto is being prepared by a three-member committee led by AAP spokesperson and Oxford University alumna Atishi, along with party spokesperson and former IPS officer Ajoy Kumar, and vice-chairperson of the Dialogue and Development Commission of Delhi and an alumnus of Columbia University, Jasmine Shah.