Kumar Vishwas for Ajmer Bypoll an AAP Containment Strategy?
Sources close to Vishwas told News 18 that the AAP Rajasthan chief was less than keen to take up the Ajmer challenge. He, in fact, thinks this was a ploy to keep him from getting the Rajya Sabha ticket.
File photo of Kumar Vishwas (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: With three of Delhi’s Rajya Sabha seats heading for elections next month, a confrontation seems to be emerging within the Aam Aadmi Party yet again between the party establishment and founder member Kumar Vishwas.
A group of AAP leaders from Rajasthan, where Vishwas is the state unit chief, met members of the party’s Political Affairs Committee (PAC) and demanded that Vishwas be fielded as the AAP candidate for the Ajmer Lok Sabha by-election against Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot. This comes at a time when Vishwas has made it clear that he wants to stake his claim, as a founding member, for a Rajya Sabha seat come January.
AAP leader Sunil Agiwal, who was in Delhi on Monday, told the press that he had proposed Vishwas’s name for the upcoming Ajmer bypoll. Agiwal said that he had proposed Vishwas’s name because he “always tells” them that he has his family in Rajasthan and has worked in the state.
However, sources close to Vishwas told News 18 that the AAP Rajasthan chief was less than keen to take up the Ajmer challenge. He, in fact, thinks this was a ploy to keep him from getting the Rajya Sabha ticket.
“Kumar bhai sees through these tricks. You see, the people who were in Delhi are those who were appointed by (Delhi Deputy CM) Manish Sisodia Ji, when he was Rajasthan chief. After Kumar Vishwas took over, he did not remove anybody from their respective posts. However, it is clear that these people want to work for Arvind (Kejriwal) and Manish rather than the party,” an AAP leader close to Vishwas said.
He added, “Kumar is not keen at all on contesting this election. He, instead, wants to go to the Rajya Sabha. He has earned that seat owing to his status as a founding member of the AAP. The establishment is trying to deny him that.”
The party is expected to nominate three members to the Rajya Sabha soon, with elections to the Upper House due on January 16. In addition to Vishwas, senior party leaders Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh are said to be the other frontrunners for the posts.
Sources close to Kejriwal had, however, indicated to News 18 that the party was considering nominating “outsiders”, who were experts in their fields, to the Rajya Sabha instead of party leaders.
The name of former Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan, too, had been doing the rounds. Owing to its numbers in the Delhi Assembly, the AAP will be able to win all three seats.
Speaking to News 18 in October, ahead of the party’s National Council (NC) meeting, Vishwas did not deny that he would like a Rajya Sabha seat.
“I have never held any post and I have never taken anything from the party. I have only given to AAP. If I get a (Rajya Sabha) ticket, it’s all good. If I don’t, then that is fine too. Everything is in God’s hands. I have been raising issues related to the party ever since the Punjab elections. Other people said that we lost Punjab because of EVMs. I said that EVMs are only one of the reasons why we lost. But there were reasons of our own. We have to look at those,” he had said.
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