After AAP’s ambitious Lok Sabha plan, first voices of dissent
New Delhi – The Aam Aadmi Party’s first list of 20 potential giant-killers for the general elections due by May, seems to have ruffled some feathers internally. The Congress and the BJP are, however, dismissive.
On Sunday, Arvind Kejriwal’s party lined up some of its big names to contest against the likes of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, union ministers Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid and Manish Tewari, the BJP’s Nitin Gadkari and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
AAP had sought applications for Lok Sabha ticket. Releasing the list, Mr Kejriwal’s trusted aide Manish Sisodia said, “Our aim is to send the common man of this country to Parliament. We want good people of this country to be there. This is a new experiment that people of this country are looking forward to.”
But already there is discontent. In Nagpur, where AAP has chosen to air-drop prominent leader Anjali Damania of Mumbai to contest against former BJP president Nitin Gadkari, a local supporter called Rupa Kulkarni said, “The AAP cabinet of Nagpur had approached me over the last two months to convince me to contest elections from this seat. Finally, I made up my mind and agreed.”
She did not oppose Ms Damania’s nomination but added, “The claims that have been given by AAP that the candidates will be selected on the public mandate within several local districts have not been done. This first list does not have common people in it.”
In Pune, where the party has picked a candidate called Subhash Vaare to contest the seat currently represented by “tainted” Congress leader Suresh Kalmadi, another local, Arun Bhatia, has reportedly threatened that he will contest as an Independent.
The list released yesterday confirms that senior AAP leader Kumar Vishwas, who has already been campaigning, will take on Rahul Gandhi in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh. In the same state, AAP’s Mukul Tripathi will contest against Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid in Farrukhabad, while Baba Hardev Singh will fight Mulayam Singh Yadav in Mainpuri.
In Delhi, journalist-turned-politician Ashutosh will take on Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal in his Chandni Chowk constituency. Mr Sibal seemed unperturbed, only saying, “Someone has to come, and that person will campaign… To them, I say good luck.”
Mr Khurshid’s response: “Is it a party or was it a party in Delhi?”
Among other prominent names on the AAP list are social activist Medha Patkar, senior leader Yogendra Yadav and former banker Meera Sanyal.
Also on that list are tribal rights activist Soni Sori (Read), senior advocate HS Phulka and Jarnail Singh, who infamously hurled a shoe at Union minister P Chidambaram during a press conference in 2009.