Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) announced that it will declare all its candidates for the Punjab assembly election to be held in 2017 by June end. The first list of candidates will be out in May, election campaign committee will start its work from April 25. The party has also constituted a 16-member election campaign committee and 5-member screening committee to find out suitable candidates. Meetings of AAP volunteers at booth, circle and zonal levels will be held in each assembly constituency and then aspirant candidates will have to submit their bio-data within three days at Jalandhar party office.
Election Campaign Committee after short listing probable candidates send their names to the screening committee which will interview them and thereafter, names of shortlisted candidates will be sent to political affairs committee of AAP which will take a final call on finalising the names of candidates. AAP has made its mark in Punjab, whereas BJP flopped miserably there. Congress may do better because of hard work and anti-incumbency.
AAP leader said that those who are facing corruption and criminal charges will not be given party ticket for contesting elections. If it is later found that any candidate had deliberately withheld information about criminal or corruption charges, his candidature will be cancelled. Many political pundits claimed that AAP would repeat the historic win registered in Delhi poll in Punjab elections also.
Party’s 16-member election campaign committee will comprise Sucha Singh Chhotepur, Bhawant Mann, Sadhu Singh, Himmat Singh Shergill, Harjot Bains, Baljinder Kaur among others. The five-member screening committee will have Sanjay Singh, Durgesh Pathak, Sucha Singh Chhotepur, Bhagwant Mann and Sadhu Singh.
Congress may finish runner up in the Punjab battle. The ruling Akalis are nowhere here. Congress has handed over the poll strategy to Prashant Kishor and he is working on it whereas, BJP is still banking on Badals and Gurudwara Committee. AAP team has started door to door campaigning across the state. Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party had swept the Delhi Assembly elections last year with its symbol ‘broom’, and secured 67 seats out of 70 seats. Interestingly, AAP will not contest the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections in 2017. Their only focus is Punjab this time. They are probably planning strategically to go step by step. Moreover, they don’t have the bandwidth in UP.
BJP leaders from the state want to break an alliance with SAD, and wanted to project themselves as a clean image party. They want to put the failure of this government on Akalis, which they think will benefit them in the state. Recently Gurpreet Ghuggi, a well-known Punjabi comedian, joined AAP. He is the second famous comedian, after Bhagwat Mann, to join the party. Kejriwal himself will be star campaigner, and will project their good work for Delhi in Punjab. Meanwhile, BJP has given responsibility to National President Amit Shah to declare state unit president under whom the party would contest the 2017 assembly elections. The term of current state party chief Kamal Sharma has already expired and experts opine that the name of the next state party president would signal which way the BJP is headed. In last few years, the BJP has been making efforts to strengthen its base in the rural areas of Punjab and even inducted a few Sikh faces also. BJP is keen to improve its electoral performance here, after the debacle show in Delhi and Bihar.
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