Aam Admi Party has nominated senior party leader Sanjay Singh and two little-known faces, a Delhi-based businessman with past links with the Congress and a veteran chartered accountant, as its Rajya Sabha nominees. The decision taken by the Political Affairs Committee (PAC) of the AAP was greeted with scorn and disbelief by many party leaders and a barrage of criticism by the likes of Kumar Vishwas who dubbed himself a ‘martyr’, saying he was ignored for the Upper House for speaking against CM Arvind Kejriwal.
While many were baffled with the decision, a few reasons were cited behind the move. “Delhi politics has primarily been about the Purvanchali and Punjabi vote. Selecting two members of the Baniya community reflects the party’s bid to cement this community’s support.” Another leader said that the party had decided to refrain from selecting leaders who could fight polls later. “N D Gupta is a renowned accountant,” said a senior leader, adding that his firm has been handling the party’s accounts for the past six months. Sources said Sushil Gupta — with his educational and medical institutions in Haryana — could play a key role in the party’s expansion in the state. “The party had a promising start in Haryana. That was before Yogendra Yadav left. Since then, the party hasn’t had a person with influence there,” a party leader said.
Sanjay Singh, a former social activist hailing from Uttar Pradesh’s Sultanpur, is counted among Kejriwal’s most trusted lieutenants and has been with him since the India Against Corruption agitation days. Most recently, Singh (46), a mechanical engineer by training, was the party’s Punjab poll in-charge.
56-year-old Sushil Gupta, who unsuccessfully contested the 2012 Delhi Assembly polls on a Congress ticket, has declared assets running into over Rs 160 crore while Narain Dass Gupta (72) is a former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). Sushil Gupta, who runs a chain of private and charitable schools and identified himself as an agriculturalist in the 2013 poll affidavit, quit the Congress on November 28, last year.
Kumar Vishwas, who is a PAC member, was not present in the meeting. Immediately after the announcement made by Sisodia, Vishwas lashed out at Kejriwal, saying he was being punished for speaking the “truth”.
Elections to three Rajya Sabha seats from Delhi would be held on January 16 as the terms of the incumbent members, Karan Singh, Janardan Dwivedi and Parvez Hashmi — all from the Congress — end on January 27. The AAP, which enjoys a brute majority in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, is set to win all three seats. The last date to file nominations for the three Rajya Sabha seats is January 5.