New Delhi, Feb 16: Two days after its government in Delhi quit, the AAP Sunday turned its focus on the Lok Sabha elections, releasing its first list of candidates which included activists Medha Patkar, Anjali Damania, Yogendra Yadav, Meera Sanyal and Kumar Vishwas from various key constituencies.
“Today, we have announced the names of 20 candidates. The selection of all these candidates has been done on the basis of their work for the society,” Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former minister Manish Sisodia said at a press conference here.
Social activist Patkar will contest from Mumbai Northeast, which is currently held by the Nationalist Congress Party, while former banker Sanyal will fight from Mumbai South, currently represented by Milind Deora of the Congress.
From Mumbai Northwest, held currently by Congress’ Gurudas Kamat, Mayank Gandhi has been fielded, while anti-corruption activist Anjali Damania will contest from Nagpur constituency, a stronghold of former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari.
“While choosing the candidates, we have tried to prevent corrupt and people with criminal charges from entering politics,” said Sisodia.
AAP leader Yogendra Yadav will contest from Gurgaon while poet-turned-politician Kumar Vishwas will be fielded from Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi constituency, which is a Congress stronghold and currently represented by its vice president Rahul Gandhi.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh also announced that Yadav will be in charge of the party’s efforts for Haryana’s assembly polls, which are scheduled later this year.
The first list has over a dozen candidates fighting from constituencies that are currently represented by the Congress, while only one BJP-held constituency figures in it.
The list also includes party spokesperson and former journalist Ashutosh, who will contest from Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, a constituency currently represented by Law Minister Kapil Sibal. Another journalist, Jarnail Singh, who hurled a shoe at then home minister P. Chidambaram, will be in the fray from West Delhi.
Mukul Tripathi will fight from Uttar Pradesh’s Farrukhabad constituency that is represented by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.
Baba Hardev Singh, a former Uttar Pradesh state civil service officer, is being fielded from the state’s Mainpuri, held by Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Khalid Parwez, a social activist, is to contest from the same state’s Moradabad constituency, which Congress MP and former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin represents, while noted lawyer H.S. Phoolka will contest from Punjab’s Ludhiana, the constituency of Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari.
AAP leader Subhash Ware will fight from Pune, which is represented by Congress’s Suresh Kalmadi.
Ashutosh told IANS that every challenge was big and he believes the party will do well in the upcoming general elections.
The decision on the candidates was taken after a meeting of the party’s political affairs committee (PAC) earlier Sunday morning.
Party sources said many names, including that of Arvind Kejriwal, were discussed at the PAC meeting.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal, who resigned Feb 14 after his party’s efforts to pass the Jan Lokpal bill were stalled in the Delhi assembly, asked BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi to “break his silence” on gas pricing.
He tweeted: “Modi should break his silence on gas pricing. Also, what is his and his party’s relation with Mukesh Ambani and Adani?”
Kejriwal had ordered filing a police complaint against Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister M. Veerappa Moily, Reliance Industries and its chairman Mukesh Ambani for creating an artificial shortage of gas in the country and raising its prices.
The AAP, which came into being November 2012, had made a stunning debut in last year’s Delhi assembly elections, bagging 28 seats in the 70-member house. It went on to form the government that lasted 49 days.