New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party is repeating some of its Lok Sabha candidates in the Delhi assembly elections, and also the newly inducted former Congress MLAs. The AAP candidate list for all 70 seats were released Tuesday evening.
The names were announced after the party’s political affairs committee approved their candidature for the elections.
The voting will take place on 8 February, and the counting is on 11 February.
The list has 23 new, and mostly young, faces but only eight of the 70 candidates are women — only two more since 2015.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia will contest from their respective constituencies New Delhi and Patparganj.
No sitting minister has been dropped, and their seats also remain unchanged.
Among the non-MLAs being fielded by the party are Atishi, Raghav Chadha and Dilip Pandey — all three had unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections in 2019 when the BJP won all seven parliamentary constituencies of Delhi.
While Chadha is contesting from Rajinder Nagar, Atishi has got the ticket from Kalkaji. Pandey is the candidate from Timarpur in North-East Delhi
AAP has also given ticket to Kuldeep Kumar, party councilor in the East Delhi Municipal Corporation, from Kondli assembly constituency.
MLA Amanatullah Khan, who recently sparked controversy after BJP accused him of triggering the violence that broke out at Jamia Millia Islamia University during the protests against the new citizenship law, will contest from Okhla again.
Health Minister Satyendra Jain is being repeated from Shakur Basti.
From Chandini Chowk seat that was won by Alka Lamba in 2015, Prahlad Singh Sawhney is the AAP candidate this time. Lamba quit the AAP to join back the Congress earlier last year.
Sawhney, a former Congress leader who won from Chandini Chowk in 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013, joined the AAP in October last year. He had lost to Alka Lamba in 2015.
AAP’s Durgesh Pathak is contesting from Karawal Nagar, which was represented by former AAP leader Kapil Mishra who joined the BJP last year.
Jarnail Singh, the former AAP MLA from Rajouri Garden, has been given ticket from Tilak Nagar, while S.K. Bagga, who defeated Kiran Bedi in 2015, will be contesting from Krishnanagar.
Congress defectors on AAP candidate list
There was a lot of curiosity within and outside the party to see if the new members, who defected to the AAP from the Congress days ahead of the elections, get tickets too.
Five former Congress leaders, apart from Prahlad Singh Sawhney, will be contesting the elections.
Ram Singh Netaji and Vinay Mishra, the two Congress leaders who joined the AAP Monday, have been given tickets from Badarpur and Dwarka, respectively.
While Vinay Mishra is the son of former Congress MP Mahabal Mishra, Netaji is a former MLA.
Shoaib Iqbal, the five-time former Congress MLA from Matia Mahal who joined the AAP on 10 January, has been given a ticket too. He is known to have good influence in Matia Mahal and neighbouring Ballimaran and Chandini Chowk constituencies.
The party has dropped MLA Adarsh Shastri from Dwarka and N.D. Sharma from Badarpur.
Hours after Netaji joined the AAP, Sharma sat on a protest at Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia’s residence Monday night.
“We joined AAP for clean politics but what is the difference between you and other political parties now? I won with 94,000 votes and he (Netaji) for 17,000 votes but he was inducted into the party just like that. The hard work of the volunteers was ignored,” Sharma told reporters.
Sharma was accompanied by his supporters who raised slogans in favour of him.
Dhanwati Chandela, who lost to BJP’s Manjinder Singh Sirsa in the Rajouri Garden bypolls in 2018 on Congress ticket, is contesting from the same seat as AAP candidate this time.
Rajkumari Dhillon, also a Congress import, is the AAP candidate from Hari Nagar.
Candidate selection after AAP internal surveys
According to party insiders, several internal surveys were conducted to assess the performance of the sitting MLAs. At least 10 sitting MLAs are being dropped, including those disqualified from the party since the 2015 elections when AAP won 67 of Delhi’s 70 assembly seats.
Sisodia is said to be among the MLAs who scored highest in the party’s performance survey. The education minister has been lauded for his work in the education sector.
The survey also looked at the acceptability, knowledge and reputation of the MLAs in their respective constituencies, besides identifying certain constituency-wise issues or concerns, party sources told ThePrint.
While the AAP had won 67 seats in the last assembly polls, the rest of the three seats were wrested by the BJP.
The Congress, which had ruled Delhi for 15 years prior to that, could not manage to win any seat in 2015.
AAP has since lost one of the 67 seats as its Rajouri Garden MLA Jarnail Singh quit to contest the Punjab polls. In the bypolls held in 2018, AAP fielded Harjeet Singh who lost to BJP’s Manjinder Singh Sirsa.