Delhi polls: Dropped AAP MLAs deliberate on what next

Delhi polls: Dropped AAP MLAs deliberate on what next

The Aam Aadmi Party has dropped 15 sitting MLAs from its list of 70 candidates and given a ticket to a total of 24 first-timers, including Atishi, Dilip Pandey and Raghav Chadha who unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Credit: PTI

Some AAP MLAs remained committed to the party, some were disappointed while some were still deliberating on their future course of action after they were dropped from the party's list of candidates for the next month's Delhi Assembly polls.

The Aam Aadmi Party has dropped 15 sitting MLAs from its list of 70 candidates and given a ticket to a total of 24 first-timers, including Atishi, Dilip Pandey and Raghav Chadha who unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Kalkaji MLA Avtar Singh, who was replaced by Oxford-educated and AAP spokesperson Atishi, said he was still deliberating on what he would be doing next. "I haven't thought about what to do next," Singh said in response to a question.

Unaffected by the AAP's decision to not give him a ticket in the upcoming polls, Timarpur MLA Pankaj Pushkar, who was replaced by Dilip Pandey, said he considers himself as a foot soldier of the party and not getting an assembly ticket is a very small part.

"There is no question of running independently. It is a party consisting of honest people and strengthening this party has been my aim. I am not at all disappointed. It is part of democracy. Some decisions might hurt you. But it is a very small part," he told PTI over the phone.

In sharp contrast, Badarpur MLA N D Sharma quit the party hours before the list was announced and accused it of selling tickets, a charged denied by the AAP.

"We joined the AAP for clean politics but now there is not much difference between AAP and other political parties now. The hard work of volunteers was ignored," Sharma alleged.

However, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh rubbished all the allegations of the party selling tickets.

He said new responsibilities would be given to the sitting MLAs who were not given tickets in the assembly polls.

Former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's grandson Adarsh Shastri, who is a Dwarka MLA, has also been dropped from the party's list and replaced by Vinay Kumar Mishra, son of former Congress parliamentarian Mahabal Mishra.

Sources close to Shastri said he is disappointed but plans to stay with the party.

Delhi Cantt MLA Surender Singh is planning to contest independently.

One of his close aides said he would be interacting with the people in his constituency and take a call on contesting as an independent candidate.

On Tuesday, the AAP had announced its list of 70 candidates for the Delhi Assembly polls, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal contesting again from New Delhi seat and his deputy Manish Sisodia from Patparganj seat.

Most of the dropped MLAs said they were shocked when their names did not figure in the list.

Close aides of Seelampur MLA Haji Ishraq, who was replaced by Abdul Rehman, said he was extremely upset with the AAP leadership.

They claimed that he was denied the party ticket because he wanted the AAP to present a more decisive stance against the NRC and the CAA.

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