By Anirudh Singla
With the Rajya Sabha elections for three seats from Delhi approaching and scheduled to take place on 5 January 2018, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is in a major dilemma as the seven candidates who were offered Rajya Sabha nominations by the party have rejected the nominations. With no current representatives in the Upper House, AAP is looking to field candidates with good credentials and experience.
A host of rejections for AAP nominations
Keen to field a professional, AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal had himself made an offer to former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor, Mr Raghuram Rajan but was negated as Mr Rajan had said that he had, “No plans to leave his full-time academic job at the University of Chicago.” Among the others offered the nominations were former Union Ministers Arun Shourie and Yashwant Sinha and the former Chief Justice of India, TS Thakur. AAP had also contacted Nobel Peace Prize winner, Mr Kailash Satyarthi, industrialist Sunil Munjal and Infosys Founder NM Narayanamurthy but all of them turned it down. The general reasons for rejection seem to be personal, based on individual commitments and on the popular opinion that AAP is not a particularly favourable option in the political ranks of parties, as of now.
A potential coup and in-party candidates
With the Aam Aadmi Party’s Political Affairs Committee yet to decide on the party’s candidates next week, sources from AAP say that the party’s senior leader Kumar Vishwas might not be given a chance, based on his frequent disagreements with party supremo Arvind Kejriwal. Some of the AAP leaders had recently accused Kumar Vishwas of attempting to initiate a coup of sorts to overthrow Arvind Kejriwal as the party leader. It is being touted that Sanjay Singh and Ashutosh are being considered for the two seats and there is speculation that Arvind Kejriwal himself might take up the mantle and steady his position in national politics
A senior AAP leader was quoted saying to the media that, “Things have changed since May when AAP was reeling under losses in the Punjab Assembly polls and the Delhi MCD elections. A loss in the latter had really hit volunteer morale. But since then, we have won the Bawana bypolls, and the party is much stronger, so internal friction is not such a major concern for us.” With the new Rajya Sabha members being elected by the Delhi Legislative Assembly, which hosts 66 AAP legislators and four from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), candidates chosen by AAP can easily secure an election for the three seats. Let us wait for the committee to come up with the final names which will decide the strength of AAP in Rajya Sabha on a political strength factor.
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