Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP is scouting for 2019 General election candidates: These faces are ahead in race

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New Delhi | Published: April 8, 2018 6:34:31 PM

The Aam Aadmi Party has begun scouting candidates for the next Lok Sabha elections, due by 2019, and it is contemplating to field the young Atishi Marlena, Raghav Chadha and Dilip Pandey in the polls, a party leader has said.

 The three probables are believed to be close to the AAP leadership and have been with the party since its formation on October 2, 2012 following a massive anti-corruption movement.The three probables are believed to be close to the AAP leadership and have been with the party since its formation on October 2, 2012 following a massive anti-corruption movement.

The Aam Aadmi Party has begun scouting candidates for the next Lok Sabha elections, due by 2019, and it is contemplating to field the young Atishi Marlena, Raghav Chadha and Dilip Pandey in the polls, a party leader has said. The three probables are believed to be close to the AAP leadership and have been with the party since its formation on October 2, 2012 following a massive anti-corruption movement.

A senior AAP leader said the 36-year-old Marlena, advisor to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, may contest from the East Delhi constituency, currently held by Maheish Girri of the BJP. Marlena, a member of the AAP’s Political Affairs Committee, is closely associated with the execution of the Arvind Kejriwal dispensation’s programmes to improve the conditions of Delhi government schools. Chadha, 29, may contest from New Delhi constituency, the leader said.

A known face on television debates, Chadha is the youngest spokesperson and was the party’s treasurer. He also liaisons with other political parties on behalf of the AAP leadership. Both Marlena and Chadha played important roles in drafting the party’s manifesto for the 2013 Assembly polls, when AAP made a spectacular debut into electoral politics winning 28 (out of 70) seats in the Delhi Assembly. The party went on to form a minority government with Arvind Kejriwal as Chief Minister on December 28 that year. Pandey, 37, could fight the polls from North East Delhi, a seat currently represented by Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari.

The North East Delhi constituency has a large number of people from Purvanchal region as registered voters. The party expects to tap them by fielding Pandey, who was born in Uttar Pradesh. Pandey, AAP’s Delhi unit convenor, enjoys support among party volunteers. “The party has started looking for candidates for the Lok Sabha polls and names of these three leaders are doing rounds. However, it could be premature to say the party has zeroed on them,” another AAP leader said.

There is a possibility the party may field its MLAs, like it did in 2014. For instance, then social welfare minister in the Delhi government was fielded from the North West seat. Since its inception, the AAP has twice formed government in Delhi. In December 2013, it had formed the minority government. But Kejriwal resigned in February 2014 to seek a fresh mandate, after being 45 days in office when he failed to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill due to a lack of numbers in the Assembly.

The party returned to power in February 2015 with an overwhelming majority, winning 67 of the 70 Assembly seats. That win came after AAP lost all seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi to the BJP in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Last year, it also lost the municipal corporation polls. The AAP has been trying to strengthen the organisation since the MCD loss and drubbing in a bypoll on Rajouri Garden seat.

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