AAP candidate list releases next week, could feature unsuccessful Lok Sabha candidates
AAP is keeping itself ahead of the BJP and Congress in the 2020 electoral race. While the party’s candidate list is expected next week, the manifesto could be launched two weeks ahead of the polling day.
January 21 is the last day to file the nominations for the 2020 Delhi assembly election. The Aam Aadmi Party is gearing up for the polls, keeping it ahead of the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). On Saturday, senior AAP leaders, including Manish Sisodia and Sanjay Singh launched the party’s official campaign song composed by musician Vishal Dadlani. He had also composed AAP’s 2015 campaign song.
But the real action in Delhi might begin once parties start putting out their candidate lists. It appears that the AAP wants to avoid any last-minute rush in the filing of nominations. According to sources, the party is set to release its candidate list in the coming week, and it seems likely that AAP will be the first party to do so. Both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are still at the stage of shortlisting candidates and figuring out the strongest opponents against the incumbent party's leaders.
The release of the candidate list by AAP might trigger political commotions in the national capital. According to sources, based on the surveys – qualitative and quantitative - the party will replace a number of sitting legislators. Either those who are unpopular in their areas or who have a tainted image or have not been able to meet the expectations of the electorate could be axed by AAP. This means several fresh faces will be given a chance.
Notably, in the past five years, several AAP legislators had rebelled and had to face disciplinary actions. Legislators such as Devinder Sehrawat and Anil Bajpai joined the BJP ahead of the 2019 general elections. Kapil Mishra switched his political affiliation to the BJP after being suspended from the party for making allegations against AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Chandni Chowk MLA Alka Lamba resigned from AAP to join the Congress party. This also means that AAP will have to field fresh faces in the Chandni Chowk, Bijwasan, Karawal Nagar and Gandhi Nagar assembly constituencies.
According to sources, AAP is set to field its Parliamentary Affairs Committee (PAC) member Durgesh Pathak from the Karawal Nagar assembly constituency. If Mishra is able to clinch a seat from the BJP, then there is going to be a fight between Pathak and Mishra on that seat.
Importantly, as per the party insiders, AAP is likely to give another electoral chance to its unsuccessful Lok Sabha candidates from Delhi. Atishi, Raghav Chadha and Dilip Pandey will again try their electoral luck in the assembly election scheduled for February 8th. While Atishi is expected to contest from the Kalkaji assembly seat, Chadha might contest from Rajendra Nagar and Pandey is expected to contest from the Timarpur assembly seat.
Atishi had unsuccessfully contested from the East Delhi Lok Sabha seat against BJP’s Gautam Gambhir and Congress’ Arvinder Singh Lovely. Despite an aggressive campaign, she stood third. Pandey was crushed in the high profile electoral battle in the North East Delhi seat. He was taking on sitting BJP MP and Delhi BJP president, Manoj Tiwari and three-time former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit.
Chadha had managed to finish second in the South Delhi Lok Sabha constituency. He had contested against BJP’s sitting MP Ramesh Bidhuri and Congress’ Vijender Singh.
Importantly, Delhi CM Kejriwal is set to contest for the third time from the New Delhi assembly constituency. In 2013, Kejriwal had clinched the seat by defeating sitting CM Dikshit and had ousted the Congress party from power in the national capital.
AAP sources confirmed that the work of carving out the incumbent party’s manifesto is in the final stage. It is expected to be out two weeks prior to the polling day. Atishi, Jasmine Shah and national spokesperson Dr Ajoy Kumar are part of the three-member manifesto committee.
According to Delhi Deputy CM Sisodia, AAP is seeking votes on the basis of its work and governance model of the Kejriwal government. AAP MP Sanjay Singh had said that AAP has not only delivered promises made during the 2015 assembly election but has gone a step ahead by launching schemes such as 200 units free electricity and free transportation for women. In a three-pronged campaign, the party is set to reach out to voters through Kejriwal’s roadshows, public meetings, and door-to-door campaigns.
While AAP looks geared for the polls, the Congress and BJP are still stuck in the process of shortlisting their candidates. According to sources, the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) might release its manifesto in the coming week.
Meanwhile, the BJP is holding door-to-door campaigns to gather support for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). BJP chief Amit Shah had kicked off this campaign and had himself visited houses in Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar locality last Sunday. The saffron party is planning to make the CAA one of the key electoral planks in this election. On the other hand, the screening process of shortlisting the candidates is ongoing. The BJP could end up being the last party to officially announce its candidates in Delhi's electoral battle.