Five candidates of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) including former cricketer Harbhajan Singh aka Bhajji filed nomination for the Rajya Sabha from Punjab here on Monday, the last day for filing the papers.
Besides the former off-spinner Bhajji, AAP’s pick included Dr Sandeep Pathak, an IIT Delhi faculty and the party strategist for the poll campaign for Punjab; Raghav Chadha, an AAP Delhi legislator and the party Punjab affairs co-in-charge; Sanjeev Arora, a textile businessman from Ludhiana and Ashok Mittal, founder of Lovely Professional University (LPU), Jalandhar.
Dr Pathak is the IIT faculty in the department of energy science and engineering. He did his PhD from Cambridge University in 2011. He was also the main AAP strategist in Punjab where the party swept the assembly polls with 92 of the total 117 seats, earlier this month.
The scrutiny of the nominations would be held on March 22 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is March 24, while the election for the same would be held on April 31 at the state assembly secretariat.
All these vacancies are set to go to AAP in the wake of its absolute majority in the assembly. It may be recalled that these vacancies in the Rajya Sabha have arisen as the term of the five (Rajya Sabha) MPs is ending on April 9.
These MPs include Partap Singh Bajwa and S S Dullo of Congress, Shwait Malik of BJP and Naresh Gujral and S S Dhindsa of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
It may also be recalled that Punjab has a total of seven Rajya Sabha seats and the term of the remaining two Rajya Sabha members - Balwinder Singh Bhunder of SAD and Ambika Soni of Congress would end on July 4 this year and elections to these would take place later this year.
CONG FLAYS OUTSIDERS:
The leading opposition Congress party in Punjab has created clamour over the nominations saying that the AAP should have nominated only Punjabis from the state.
Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira said in a tweet that instead of sending non-Punjabis and businessmen to Rajya Sabha, Bhagwant Mann should have honoured his commitment to nominate Bibi Paramjit Khalra, a victim of police brutality and champion of human rights in Punjab.
However, it is pertinent to mention here in the past too, several people, who were Punjabis by birth but not stayed in the state, had been nominated by the opposition parties.