The Aam Aadmi Party’s four Lok Sabha candidates, including party spokesperson Atishi, are likely to contest the Delhi Assembly elections, according to sources. While the party is expected to repeat most of its 2015 candidates who are sitting MLAs, four candidates who contested in the Lok Sabha elections this year are likely to be fielded in the polls due early next year, they said.
In the upcoming elections in Delhi, Raghav Chadha, a young and suave chartered accountant and the AAP’s spokesperson, might contest from south Delhi’s Kalkaji or central Delhi’s Rajendra Nagar, the sources said. Chadha contested the Lok Sabha elections from the south Delhi constituency.
Another party spokesperson, Atishi, an Oxford graduate credited by the AAP for revolutionising the education system in Delhi government-run schools, might be fielded from east Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar or south Delhi’s Jangpura, they added. She had contested the Lok Sabha polls from the East Delhi constituency. Guggan Singh, who contested from the North West constituency in the Lok Sabha polls, might be fielded from Bawana, while Dilip Pandey, who contested from the North East constituency in the general election, might be fielded from Timarpur, a senior party leader said.
However, no official confirmation has been received from the party on any of these names. A crucial seat where the AAP would need a new face is Chandni Chowk. The seat was vacated after disqualification of party MLA Alka Lamba, who went back to the Congress. It was speculated earlier that the AAP might field its Lok Sabha candidate Pankaj Gupta from Chandni Chowk in the next Assembly elections but the dynamics changed after four-time Congress MLA Parlad Singh Sawhney joined the Aam Aadmi Party, the sources said.
Sawhney might contest from Chandni Chowk but his son Purandeep Singh Sawhney might also be a contender for the seat, they added. Another seat which is currently vacant is the Karawal Nagar Assembly constituency. Rebel AAP MLA Kapil Mishra, who was the sitting legislator, was disqualified a few months back and is presently with the BJP. “AAP’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) member and Punjab-in charge Durgesh Pathak is most likely to contest from the Karawal Nagar Assembly constituency,” another party leader said. According to several party members, Pathak has been rigourously campaigning in the Karawal Nagar assembly segment for the past few months.
A senior party leader said the final list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections has been finalised but unlike the Lok Sabha polls, the AAP will not immediately release the list and will take some time. “The first list of candidates will be released only after the Election Commission announces the date of the assembly polls in Delhi,” the party leader confirmed. “Unlike the Lok Sabha polls, the candidates do not need to establish their voter base. The candidates who will contest in the Assembly elections are mostly known to people and their work has been seen by them,” he said.
In the 2015 elections, the AAP won 67 seats while the BJP won three and the Congress drew a blank in the 70-member Assembly. Party leaders, including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, have exuded confidence several times that they will repeat this feat of winning the maximum number of seats even in the 2020 Assembly polls as well.