New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party's list of all 70 candidates for Delhi Assembly polls may have dent some hopes as the Arvind Kejriwal-led party has field new faces on at least seven seats. The seats where new candidates have been fielded in 2020 elections are Chandni Chowk, Karawal Nagar, Bijwasan, Rajouri Garden, Gandhi Nagar, Matia Mahal and Dwarka.
Vinay Mishra has been fielded from the seat instead of sitting MLA Adarsh Shastri, who is former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri's grandson. Adarsh had left his high-paying job in Apple Inc to join AAP. It is said that the decision was taken keeping in mind the Purvanchal voters as Vinay, who is the son of heavyweight Congress leader Mahabal Mishra, is seen as somebody who would inherit his father's political mantle and help in shifting the vote base to Arvind Kejriwal-led party.
MLA Aseem Ahmed Khan has been dropped to accommodate Shoaib Iqbal, who recently joined AAP from Congress. Being an MLA for five consecutive terms before losing to AAP in 2015, Iqbal has a stronghold in the Matia Mahal constituency in Delhi. He contested and won the 2013 assembly elections from JD(U).
Sources said the party has been looking for a prominent face to woo the Muslim population of the national capital and Iqbal was willing to join the AAP.
Congress turncoat Prahlad Singh Sawhney has replaced MLA Alka Lamba as she was disqualified from the Delhi Assembly by Speaker Ram Niwas Goel "on grounds of defection".
In a series of tweets last year, Lamba had indicated that she will contest the assembly elections in Delhi, and thanked her supporters saying she will continue fighting for their rights. "My journey with AAP ends here. I am thankful to my supporters who have always given me strength to take up fights both inside and outside the party. Now, though I will no longer be there is the Assembly for almost another five months, I will continue my fight amid common people for their rights. I will not let my supporters suffer. And those in power must remember that they have disrespected people’s mandate," he had said.
Hence, the party chose four-term Congress MLA Prahlad Singh Sawhney to field from Chandni Chowk. He won Delhi elections on Congress ticket in 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013 elections, before joining the AAP in 2019.
Karawal Nagar MLA Kapil Mishra was disqualified on January 27 last year when he shared the dais with BJP leaders at an election event organised by them. Reasoning out his move, Mishra had said that other Aam Aadmi Party leaders like chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had also shared the stage with rival political parties like the Congress and the SP and there cannot be different yardsticks for members.
Mishra then joined BJP on August 17, much after the Speaker's August 8 order by which he was disqualified. Hence, in 2020, he was replace by senior party member Durgesh Pathak, who had played an important role in party's landslide victory in 2015 Assembly elections, hads been active in the constituency for the past few months.
MLA Devendra Sherawat was suspended from the party after he raised the banner of rebellion after Kejriwal decided to sack fellow founding members Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan at a meeting of AAP's Political Affairs Committee (PAC). After his suspension for alleged anti-party activities, Sherawat joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Hence, AAP filed advocate BS Joon from the seat.
Dayanand Chandila's wife Dhanwanti Chandila will fight polls on AAP ticket from Rajouri Garden. The family has been active in electoral politics since 1993 and has even found a mention in the 'Guinness Book of world record' for being the 'first family' of Khyala, a bustling urbanised village in west Delhi. The seat went to BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate Manjinder Singh Sirsa in 2017 bypolls. The by-elections were necessitated after AAP sitting legislator Jarnail Singh dropped out to contest in Punjab.
AAP's Anil Bajpai defected to the BJP last year after the Kejriwal-led party sacked him for rebelling against the outfit. Naveen Choudhary (Deepu) will now fight polls on AAP ticket in 2020.