AAP pits 24 new faces in Delhi

New Delhi: With a little over three weeks to go for the Delhi Assembly elections, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday named candidates for all 70 seats in the national capital. The party has dropped 15 legislators and fielded 24 new faces to contest the February 8 Assembly polls.

Besides replacing 15 sitting MLAs, the party has fielded new candidates for four seats held by the Opposition BJP and five seats that fell vacant after the AAP MLAs defected. The party, which won 67 of the 70 seats in the last Assembly polls, named Mr Kejriwal as its candidate from New Delhi, his deputy Manish Sisodia from Patparganj, ministers Satyendra Jain from Shakurbasti, Gopal Rai from Babarpur, Imran Hussain from Ballimaran, Rajinder Pal Gautam from Seemapuri and Kailash Gehlot from Najafgarh.
Senior AAP leaders Atishi, Dilip Pandey and Raghav Chaddha, who unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, will fight the Assembly polls from Kalkaji, Timarpur and Rajender Nagar seats respectively. The party has also increased the number of women candidates from six to eight for the coming polls.

Soon after the official announcement, which came on the day the Election Commission issued a notification for the Delhi polls, Mr Kejriwal tweeted: “Best wishes to all. Don’t be complacent. Work very hard. People have lot of faith in the AAP and you. God bless.”

The party also tweeted: “We congratulate all candidates and wish them all the best to establish high levels of trust and integrity within their constituency.”

Even before the list was officially announced, Badarpur legislator N.D. Sharma, who was dropped, fired the first shot in the afternoon, accusing Mr Kejriwal of  “selling tickets” and “betraying” voters.

He was replaced by former Congress leader Ram Singh “Netaji”, who joined the AAP along with four others on Monday. Mr Singh has twice won the Assembly polls — one as an independent candidate and once on the Bahujan Samaj party ticket.

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