AAP drops 15 MLAs; Kejriwal from New Delhi again

Delhi Assembly Elections 2020: AAP drops 15 MLAs, fields Arvind Kejriwal from New Delhi seat

PTI file photo

AAP on Tuesday dropped 15 sitting MLAs, including former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's grandson Adarsh Shastri, for the Delhi Assembly elections even as all ministers will seek re-election.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led party, which won 67 out of 70 seats in 2015 polls and is seeking another term, is also fielding its prominent leaders Atishi (Kalkaji), Dileep Pandey (Timarpur), Raghav Chadha (Rajinder Nagar) and Durgesh Pathak (Karawal Nagar).

Chief Minister Kejriwal will fight from his New Delhi seat and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia will again seek re-election from Patparganj while other five ministers are fielded from their sitting seats.

Soon after the official announcement, which came on a day Election Commission issued notification for the February 8 polls, Kejriwal tweeted, "Best wishes to all. Don't be complacent. Work very hard. People have lot of faith in AAP and you. God bless." There are eight women among the candidates as against six in 2015.

Announcing candidates for all the 70 seats, AAP became the first prominent party to come out with its nominees while BJP is expected to announce its first list on January 17. Congress list is also expected in the coming days amid indications that senior leaders like J P Aggarwal and Ajay Maken will face the electorate.

Even before the list was officially announced, Badarpur MLA N D Sharma, who was dropped, fired the first shot in the afternoon, accusing Kejriwal of "selling the ticket" and "betraying" voters. He was replaced by Ram Singh Netaji.

Adarsh Shastri, who represents Dwarka, is among the prominent MLAs to be dropped and he was replaced by Vinay Kumar Mishra, who is the son of senior Delhi Congress leader Mahabal Mishra. The party also refused to renominate Pankaj Pushkar, considered close to former AAP leader Prashant Bhushan and who has been rebelling against Kejriwal, from Timarpur where Pandey, a key confidant of Kejriwal, will fight.

AAP also dropped Surender Singh, a former NSG Commando who was among the security personnel who fought terrorists during the Mumbai attacks and replaced him with Virendra Singh Kadian in Delhi Cantonment seat.

AAP also found new faces for four seats in which its MLAs had joined either BJP or Congress. In Chandni Chowk where Alka Lamba joined Congress, AAP has fielded veteran Congress leader Pralhad Sawhney while in Karawal Nagar, where former Minister Kapil Mishra, who accused Kejriwal of indulging in corruption, it has fielded Pathak. In Bijwasan where its MLA Devender Shekhawat joined BJP, it has fielded B S Joon and in Gandhi Nagar where Anil Bajpai joined BJP, it has fielded Naveen Choudhary.

In Matia Mahal, it has fielded former Delhi Deputy Speaker Shoaib Iqbal, who joined the AAP recently in place of sitting MLA Asim Ahmed Khan. 

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