Unease within AAP after naming of newcomers for RS

Rajat Kain

File photo of AAP leader Kumar Vishwas. PTI

File photo of AAP leader Kumar Vishwas.
PTI

In a development that is tipped to stoke unease in the Aam Aadmi Party, two relatively unknown persons – Sushil Gupta and ND Gupta – were chosen along with party leader Sanjay Singh to be nominated for Rajya Sabha berth. The two, who are incidentally not even members of the AAP, were chosen today in its top political meet.

Given Aam Aadmi Party’s brute majority in Delhi assembly, all three of its nominees will have an easy sailing unless the MLAs cross vote.

The development has upset senior party leader and poet-politician Kumar Vishwas, who had been laying subtle claims for Rajya Sabha nominations. Reacting to the decision of his party, he made his anger known but in an oblique manner.

“Today I feel slighted… I am rewarded in the form of punishment for all my opinions in the party, be it on the issue of JNU or army personnel or selection of candidate in Punjab polls (early this year),” Vishwas said speaking to the press at his residence.

“I congratulate Arvind ji for this amazing decision… great people have been chosen,” he said.

AAP’s highest decision making body, the Political Affairs Committee (PAC), met on Wednesday formally approved the decision to nominate the three names which were decided at Kejriwal’s official residence in a meeting attended by 56 MLAs. Kumar Vishwas, who is a member of PAC, was absent in the deliberations.

FILE: New Delhi: File photo of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing a press conference in New Delhi with Dy CM Manish Sisodia. Photo - PTI

FILE: New Delhi: File photo of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal addressing a press conference in New Delhi with Dy CM Manish Sisodia.
Photo – PTI

While Singh has been associated with Arvind Kejriwal since his Anna Hazare protest days, later occupying a key role in AAP after its inception in November 2012, Sushil Gupta is a Delhi-based businessman and ND Gupta a chartered accountant.

There are reports that Sushil Gupta was associated with Congress party at the district level in Delhi. Both him and ND Gupta were selected by the party after reportedly several ‘eminent names’ turned down the AAP’s offer.

“Sushil Gupta has made big contributions in the education and health sectors in Delhi and Haryana. He provides free education to 15,000 children… Narayan Das Gupta is the former president of the ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountant of India),” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters defending his party’s decision.

Even former AAP members reacted to the developments.

“I used to say, whatever his other faults @ArvindKejriwal cannot be bought. Defended him against Kapil Mishra’s allegations. Now I don’t know what to say. Speechless, ashamed and numb,” tweeted Yogendra Yadav who had an acrimonious exit from the party soon after it had won Delhi polls in February 2015.

Elections to three Rajya Sabha seats from Delhi would be held on January 16. The last date to file nominations for the three Rajya Sabha seats is January 5.

Currently the three seats are held by Congress members — Dr. Karan Singh, Janardhan Dwivedi and Parvez Hashmi.

(With inputs from PTI)