Delhi polls: On AAP list, former Congress, BSP MLAs and councillors

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Shoaib Iqbal (left), contesting from Matia Mahal, joined AAP last week.

The AAP list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly polls includes seven switchovers from the Congress, and one each from the BJP and the BSP. Incidentally, among the nine, five had joined AAP barely two days ago.

Those who switched over from Congress to AAP and secured tickets are Ram Singh ‘Netaji’, Parlad Singh Sawhney, Shoaib Iqbal, Dhanwanti Chandela, Vinay Mishra, Rajkumari Dhillon, and Deepu Chaudhary.

The remaining two are Jai Bhagwan Upkar, who was a BSP councillor before he shifted loyalties, and Surendra Kumar, a
former BSP MLA, who also spent around three months in the BJP in 2019. Singh, Dhillon, Chaudhary, and Mishra, who is the son of former Congress MP Mahabal Mishra, had joined the AAP Monday in the presence of top AAP leadership, including Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

While Iqbal, a five-time MLA, switched over last week, Sawhney had joined in October. Chandela, from a prominent Congress family in Rajouri Garden, joined AAP last August.

Singh’s induction has already created a discord within the party, with sitting Badarpur MLA N D Sharma going on the offensive against the AAP leadership, accusing them of “selling the ticket”. On Tuesday, he quit the AAP. Asked if Sharma is likely to join the BJP, party leader Kapil Mishra said no such decision has been taken yet.

Iqbal, who has been with the Congress and Janata Dal (United) in the past, will be contesting from Matia Mahal, replacing former Delhi government minister Asim Ahmed Khan, who was sacked from the Cabinet over an alleged bribery scandal. However, over the last few months, Khan had once again warmed up to the AAP leadership.

Sawhney, who has been fielded from Chandni Chowk which had fallen vacant after the disqualification of Alka Lamba on grounds of defection, held the seat four times between 1998-2013 as a Congress MLA. He was defeated by Lamba in 2015.

Mishra has been fielded from Dwarka, which was being represented by former Apple executive Adarsh Shastri, grandson of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, since 2015.