AAP announces all Delhi candidates, drops 15 sitting MLAs
New Delhi, Jan. 15 (IANS): The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday announced the list of all 70 candidates for the February 8 Delhi Assembly elections, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal contesting again from New Delhi seat and his deputy Manish Sisodia again in the fray from Patparganj.
The party has dropped 15 of its sitting MLAs and added 24 new faces in total, including unsuccessful 2019 Lok Sabha candidates Atishi, Dilip Pandey and Raghav Chadha.
All the ministers, including Sisodia, are also re-contesting from their respective seats as well as Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goyal (Shahdara) and Deputy Speaker Rakhi Birla (Mangol Puri).
Eight women candidates have been given the opportunity in the list released by the AAP’s Political Affairs Committee.
The notification of the February 8 Assembly elections was released on Tuesday and the nomination process has also started. The BJP and Congress are yet to reveal their cards.
Several newly-joined party members have also been given ticket.
The party has dropped the sitting MLAs after they were not found up to the mark, after a survey. It has also conducted the survey of the new names, according to a party leader.
The leader, however, refused to go into details about each MLA.
Timarpur MLA Pankaj Pushkar, who won the 2015 election by getting 51.05 per cent of the total votes, has been replaced by party’s unsuccessful 2019 Lok Sabha candidate Dilip Pandey.
Ram Chander, who won Bawana in 2015 with 45.39 per cent votes, has been replaced by Jai Bhagwan Upkar, a former BSP councillor, who joined AAP on Monday.
Mundka MLA Sukhbir Dalal, who won with 57.22 per cent votes in 2015, has also been axed and former Congress member from Mundka, Dharampal Lakra, who joined AAP in 2014, fielded.
Among the 15 names dropped, all bagged their seats in 2015 with huge vote share.
Dalit activist Raj Kumar Anand, who rejoined the Aam Aadmi Party in July 2019 after quitting it during the 2015 Assembly elections, has replaced Patel Nagar MLA Hazari Lal Chauhan, who won in 2015 with 59.05 per cent votes.
From Hari Nagar constituency, Rajkumari Dhillon, a former Congress councillor who joined AAP on Monday, has replaced sitting MLA Jagdeep Singh, who won with 58.42 per cent votes.
Adarsh Shastri, the grandson of former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, had won the Dwarka seat with 59.08 per cent votes in 2015 but has been removed this time. In his place, the AAP has fielded Vinay Kumar Mishra, a Congress leader and son of former Congress MP Mahabal Mishra, who joined AAP on Monday along with numerous leaders.
Ex-serviceman Surinder Singh had won the 2015 election from Delhi Cantonment with 51.82 per cent votes. He is replaced by former Indian Air Force Sergeant and advocate Virender Singh Kadian, who had been with the party since the beginning.
Another failed Lok Sabha candidate Raghav Chadha has replaced Vijender Garg in the Rajinder Nagar constituency. Garg had won the 2015 election with 54.39 per cent votes.
Avtar Singh, who won the Kalkaji seat with 51.72 per cent votes, is replaced by unsuccessful 2019 Lok Sabha candidate Atishi, who had been involved with the AAP government’s education reforms.
Ram Singh Netaji, a former Congressman and a two-time MLA from Badarpur who joined AAP on Monday, has replaced sitting Badarpur MLA N.D Sharma, who got 59.3 per cent votes in 2015.
From Trilokpuri, sitting MLA Raju Dhingan, who won in 2015 with 58.62 per cent votes, has been replaced by party’s Rohit Kumar Mehraulia, who was elected to EDMC’s Trilokpuri-East ward in 2017 MCD elections.
The AAP has decided to field another MCD winner from Kalyan Puri ward – Kuldeep Kumar (Monu) – for the Kondli constituency in place of Manoj Kumar, who had won the seat in 2015 with 50.66 per cent votes.
From Seelampur, Abdul Rehman, also a MCD winner from East Delhi, has been given the ticket, replacing Haji Ishraq, who won in 2015 with 51.26 per cent votes.
In Gokalpur, Surendra Kumar, a former BJP leader who joined AAP in October 2019, has replaced Fateh Singh who bagged 48.71 per cent votes.
Former Congressman Shoaib Iqbal, who has been a five-time MLA from Matia Mahal from different parties and had joined AAP on January 9, will contest from the Assembly constituency.
AAP’s Asim Ahmed Khan broke Iqbal’s winning streak in 2015 by defeating him as he bagged 59.23 per cent of the votes.
Besides replacing 15 sitting MLAs, the party has fielded new candidates on four Assembly constituencies held by BJP and five seats which fell vacant after the sitting MLAs were disqualified over defection.
In the 2015 polls, while the AAP bagged 67 of 70 seats, the BJP got the remaining three. The AAP lost from the Rajouri Garden seat in 2017 in A bypoll.
The AAP had also disqualified five of its MLAs since August 2019.
While Anil Kumar Bajpai, Col. Devinder Sehrawat and Kapil Mishra were disqualified for their association with the BJP, Sandeep Kumar was disqualified for having connections with BSP and Alka Lamba was disqualified after she joined the Congress.
Those who were given tickets for the vacant seats are Parlad Singh Sawhney (Chandni Chowk); Dhanwati Chandela (Rajouri Garden); Haji Yunus (Mustafabad); Durgesh Pathak (Karawal Nagar); Naveen Choudhary (Gandhi Nagar); Deepak Singla (Vishwas Nagar)Mukesh Kumar Ahlawat (Sultan Pur Majra); Rajesh Nama Bansiwala (Rohini); and B.S. Joon (Bijwasan).