New Delhi: Ahead of the March 31 Rajya Sabha elections for five of the seven seats from Punjab, academician Sandeep Pathak, AAP’s Delhi MLA and national spokesperson Raghav Chadha and former spinner Harbhajan Singh Bhajji have emerged among the frontrunners to bag the coveted nominations.
Monday (March 21) is the last day for filing the nominations. All five vacancies are set to go to AAP, which swept the recent state elections winning 92 of the 117 seats in the Assembly. Pathak, an assistant professor at IIT-Delhi, has been strategising for AAP for years and laid the groundwork for its stupendous recent victory. A PhD from Cambridge University, Pathak is well known as a backroom boy in Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal’s team. Kejriwal today thanked Pathak for the Punjab win and hailed his contribution as a political strategist and campaign designer.
Raghav Chadha, AAP’s Delhi MLA from Rajinder Nagar and party’s co-incharge in Punjab, has been routinely praised by Kejriwal for his hard work in the state and could be sent to the Rajya Sabha from here, said sources. Harbhajan Singh’s name as a likely RS candidate of AAP from Punjab has been doing the rounds.
The five Punjab vacancies are arising due to the term of the following RS MPs ending on April 9. These MPs are Partap Singh Bajwa and SS Dullo (both from Congress), Shwait Malik (BJP), Naresh Gujral (SAD) and SS Dhindsa (SAD-Sanyukt). Punjab has seven RS seats. The term of Balwinder Singh Bhunder (SAD), Ambika Soni (Congress) will end on July 4 and polls to these two seats would be held later this year.
It is unlikely that any other political party will file nominations for the RS elections, as none independently has the strength to elect a member.
It may be noted that members to the Rajya Sabha are elected on the principle of proportional representation.
Though AAP sources say that the names of RS candidates were decided almost a week back, intense lobbying is still on. Besides the names of the frontrunners already mentioned, former judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court, who had led the first inquiry into 2015 sacrilege incidents, Justice Jora Singh and former minister Jagmohan Singh Kang are also reportedly staking their claim. Both are members of AAP. The name of educationist and Dakha candidate Dr KNS Kang is also doing the rounds. TNS