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AAP fields three MLAs, one ex-MP for Delhi Lok Sabha seats

NEW DELHI: Aam Aadmi Party, led by Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, on Tuesday announced its candidates for four Lok Sabha seats in Delhi and one in Haryana, which it is contesting as part of a seat-sharing deal with Congress under the banner of INDIA.

AAP put its faith in three sitting Delhi MLAs to contest from East, South and New Delhi seats and former Congress lawmaker Mahabal Mishra, who later crossed over, from West Delhi.

AAP has picked an SC candidate and Kondli MLA Kuldeep Kumar for East Delhi, which was described as a "revolutionary step" by Kejriwal in a video message on X. Kejriwal said only AAP is fulfilling the dream of Babasaheb Ambedkar.

AAP's Haryana president and former Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Gupta will contest from Kurukshetra.

Three-time Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti will be contest from New Delhi while two-time MLA from Tughlaqabad, Sahiram Pahalwan, has been fielded from South Delhi.

'Candidates decided after consultations with Congress'

AAP's Kurukshetra candidate Sushil Gupta was associated with Congress and even fought the assembly election in 2013 from Moti Nagar in Delhi. He later joined AAP and was nominated in 2018 by the party to Rajya Sabha. He has been associated with several philanthropic organisations and his educational institutions serve more than 15,000 students in Delhi and Haryana.

Congress will contest three seats - Northwest (SC), Northeast and Chandni Chowk- in Delhi and nine in Haryana. In 2019, BJP had won all 10 seats in Haryana and all seven in Delhi. Both parties are yet to announce their candidates for Delhi.

AAP and Congress announced their seat-sharing deal on Saturday. AAP's political affairs committee, chaired by Kejriwal, met on Tuesday to decide on the names. Delhi ministers Gopal Rai and Atishi and AAP national general secretary (organisation) Sandeep Pathak announced the candidates at a press conference. Atishi said the main criterion for selection was presence of candidates among people. "If you ask about our four candidates, people from their areas will say they are available 24x7 for public service," she said.

Asked whether candidate selection has been done in coordination with Congress, Pathak said, "We have taken this decision with a mutual understanding. However, it is the prerogative of every political party to field a candidate of its choice."

AAP has already announced its candidates for Bharuch and Bhavnagar in Gujarat and three candidates in Assam. However, AAP is yet to decide on the biggest chunk of 13 seats in Punjab where the party and Congress will go solo in LS polls.