With an aim to become a 'national alternative' rather than limiting itself to a specific region, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Sunday released its first list of 20 candidates for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections pitting its frontline leaders against some of the political bigwigs of the country. Of these, nine are social activists.
While AAP's Kumar Vishwas has been given a ticket from Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh against Congress's vice-president Rahul Gandhi, television journalist-turned-politician Ashutosh will challenge union telecom minister Kapil Sibal on Chandni Chowk seat.
In Maharashtra, AAP has given ticket to banker-turned-politician Meera Sanyal from Mumbai South constituency, which at present is held by Congress MP and union minister Milind Deora, Mayank Gandhi from Mumbai North-West against Congress's Gurudas Kamat, activist Medha Patkar from Mumbai North-East against NCP's Sanjay Patil, Subhash Ware from Pune against CWG-tainted leader Suresh Kalmadi and Vijay Pandhare from Nashik against Sameer Bhujbal.
Activist Anjali Damania would be taking up the battle against former BJP president Nitin Gadkari from Nagpur – Lok Sabha seat from where Gadkari is expected to fight the polls in 2014.
AAP's chief spokesperson and political ideologue Yogendra Yadav is going to fight from Gurgaon seat against Inderjit Singh. He will also be the incharge of AAP in Haryana from where AAP plants to content all 10 Lok Sabha seats.
The list has seven candidates from Uttar Pradesh, six from Maharashtra, two from Delhi, one from Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab each.
The list is first among many that would come in days to come and is in line with AAP's announcement of taking on corrupt leaders in the Lok Sabha polls. "Our main motto is to send honest people to Parliament. We do not want to send criminals, people with dynastic background. We will soon release the list of candidates for other seats," senior party leader Manish Sisodia told reporters here.
Last month, during their national council meet, AAP's national convenor Arvind Kejriwal had cleared his party's intentions of taking up a fight against high and mighty of Indian politics.
He had announced a list of several political bigwigs. including Rahul Gandhi, Sibal, former BJP president Nitin Gadkari stating that AAP will do everything to stop the corrupt and political leaders from entering parliament.
The list comes two days after Kejriwal had resigned from Delhi chief minister's post and probably that is why party wasted no time in announcing its first Lok Sabha candidates list as Kejriwal would now have more time to travel across India and campaign for AAP.
Party sources told dna that a quick look at the first list would clearly show that "we mean business and do not fear in taking the battle against the most influential in the country."
"In this first list, we have candidates from UP, Maharashtra, Haryana, Delhi, Arunachal, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha. We will not limit ourselves to a region and our intent is clear of reaching out to nation as whole. We will be a clean and honest national alternative for people who are tired and frustrated with political system of present," a senior party leader told dna.
And that is why AAP had no fears in fighting Gadkari from Nagpur, where RSS has its headquarters, the AAP leader added.
Meanwhile, AAP has also given ticket to Mukul Tripathi from Farukhabad seat in Uttar Pradesh to fight against External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and Advocate HS Phoolka will challenge Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari on Ludhiana set. Activist Hardev Singh will fight the Mainpuri seat, which is Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav's stronghold.
Another local activist and peasant leder Somendra Dhaka will fight from Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh againt Union Aviation Minister and Rashtriya Lok Dal chief Ajit Singh.
Jarnail Singh is the AAP nominee for the West Delhi seat, which is currently represented by Congress leader Mahabal Mishra in Parliament.
In Uttar Pradesh, Jiya Lal, a scientist, has been cleared as AAP's candidate for the Lalganj seat, which is at present with BSP's Bali Ram.
Educationist Khalid Pervez will contest from Moradabad which former cricketer Mohd Azharuddin currently represents in Parliament while Yogesh Dahiya, a peasant leader from Uttar Pradesh, will be the AAP candidate for Saharanpur. The Saharanpur seat is held by BSP's Jagdish Singh Rana.
Another senior party leader, Subhash Ware, will contest from Pune, a seat held by Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi, who is facing corruption charges.
AAP has given a ticket from Nashik to Vijay Pandhare, a former engineer with the state government who had helped unearth the irrigation scam.
Alok Agarwal, another senior activist of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, will contest from Khandwa in Madhya Pradesh, while Habung Pyang, a former Information Commissioner in Arunachal Pradesh, will be the AAP contestant in the northeastern state.
Lingraj, an activist who took part in the agitation against Posco, will lead AAP's challenge for the Bargarh seat in Odisha.