The Aam Admi Party today announced the names of Sanjay Singh Narayan Das Gupta and Sushil Gupta as the party’s candidates for the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls from Delhi.
While Sanjay Singh is a party leader known to be close to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, N.D Gupta is an expert on GST who has authored several books on accountancy and business. The third candidate Sushil Gupta is a billionaire businessman and former Congressman, according to a report by The Times of India.
The decision on their candidature has come after much parleys and discussions within the party. The final decision was taken at the party's Political Affairs Committee (PAC) meeting at Kejriwal’s residence.
Kumar Vishwas, one of the founding members of AAP had thrown his hat into the ring to become the party’s face in the Rajya Sabha. However, he was sidelined due to his troubled relation with Kejriwal.
In an interview to journalist Swati Chaturvedi, Vishwas had clearly said he wanted the Rajya Sabha seat.
"I am a human being. I also have ambitions. I and a huge number of my supporters feel that I should go the the Rajya Sabha where I will be an articulate voice against the BJP and the Congress. I founded the Aam Aadmi Party with Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia. Yet I have never even had the tea of Delhi Secretariat," he said.
Vishwas did not attend the PAC meeting despite being a member of it, signaling a bitter tussle that can be followed soon.
“The rift between Vishwas and Kejriwal began over "nationalist" issues. Sources close to Vishwas say that he openly chided Kejriwal for questioning the surgical strikes against Pakistan and for pandering to "Khalistani elements" in the Punjab election. They say he was asked to back off and told not to campaign in Punjab. Vishwas blames a coterie around Kejriwal for his fall from grace and had told me on record in his exclusive NDTV interview that Kejriwal was clearly threatened by him and his popularity among the public and workers.
Just after the news broke about Rajya Sabha nomination, Kumar Vishwas expressed disappointment with the party's decision. "I have been punished for speaking the truth," he was quoted as saying by India Today.
"Main janta hun aapki (Kejriwal) icchha ke bina hamare dal mein kuch hota nahi, aapse asehmat reh ke wahan jeevit rehna mushkil hai (I know that nothing in this party happens without your (Kejriwal's) wish. It's difficult to have differences with you and survive there)," Kumar Vishwas said in a stinging attack towards Kejriwal after the announcement.
"Main party, andolan ka hissa hu to ye anurodh karta hu ke shaheed to kardia par iss shav se chhed-chhaad na karen (I am a part of this party, movement. I have been martyred, now don't tinker with my dead body)," he was quoted as saying to ANI.
Recalling a recent encounter with Arvind Kejriwal, he said that he now accepts the "martyrdom".
Elections to three Rajya Sabha seats from Delhi would be held on January 16. The AAP, which enjoys a brute majority in the 70-member Delhi Assembly, is set to win all three seats.
AAP had earlier offered tickets to several eminent personalities from outside the party, including former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan. However, they denied the offer.