Former journalists, former bureaucrats, social activists and even a scientist have been included in the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) first list of 20 candidates for the Lok Sabha elections.
The list declared on Sunday afternoon, a month behind schedule, has candidates for some seats in eight states. Prominent among these are AAP leaders Yogendra Yadav (Gurgaon), Kumar Vishwas (Amethi) and Ashutosh (Chandni Chowk, Delhi), activist Medha Patkar (Mumbai North East) and banker Meera Sanyal (South Mumbai).
Besides Ashutosh, there are two other former mediapersons — Mukul Tripathi and Jarnail Singh. Tripathi has been announced as the party’s candidate from Farrukhabad, a seat held by Union Minister Salman Khurshid. Interestingly, Jarnail Singh, who made national headlines in 2009 after he hurled a shoe during a press conference at then Home Minister P Chidambaram in protest against the lack of action in the 1984 Sikh riots cases. Singh has been pitted against Delhi Congress leader Mahabal Mishra in West Delhi, which has a sizeable Sikh population.
The list includes three former civil servants: Baba Hardev Singh, a retired Provincial Civil Services officer, will contest against SP president Mulayam Singh Yadav from Mainpuri; former Information Commissioner Habung Peyang is in the fray from Arunachal West; and Vijay Pandhare, who was Chief Engineer, Water Resources Department, Haryana, has been fielded from Nashik.
The list also has Dr Jiyalal Ram, a scientist with the National Institute of Oceanography, who will fight the elections from Lalganj in Uttar Pradesh.
The first list comes two weeks after AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal announced a list of “corrupt” leaders that the party would field “strong candidates” against.
“This is just the first list of 20 candidates. In this list, we have already included six leaders from the list that Arvindji spoke of — Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Suresh Kalmadi, Nitin Gadkari and Rahul Gandhi. There is also H S Phoolka, who has always fought for the 1984 riot victims, against Manish Tewari in Ludhiana. We are looking for strong and clean personalities,” said Sanjay Singh, a member of the AAP’s Political Affairs Committee.
Sources said the party has included as many social activists as possible in the first list to encourage more NGOs and social groups to come into the AAP fold. Besides Medha Patkar, the list includes Mayank Gandhi (Mumbai North West), farmer leader Lingraj (Bargarh, Orissa) and Alok Agarwal (Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh).
“Additionally, we have also included names like Anjali