Aam Aadmi Party divided over giving Rajya Sabha tickets to outsiders

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leadership is largely divided over national convenor Arvind Kejriwal’s proposal to field prominent outsiders in the upcoming Rajya Sabha polls.

“We are yet to take a final call on the proposal,” said senior leader Gopal Rai.

Rai, the Delhi and Gujarat in-charge of AAP, said the party is still discussing the merits of such a move. While one set of leaders wants the earliest members of the fledgling party to be “rewarded”, the other backs the Delhi chief minister’s view that politically non-aligned achievers and public figures should be sent to Parliament instead.

“The Rajya Sabha was not created for political people. One view within the party is to expand AAP and fill it with good people. The party’s desire is national,” Rai told reporters. The party’s top decision-making body – the political affairs committee – has not even held a meeting on the matter, he added.

Another leader said AAP is looking for an economist, an eminent jurist and a known name in the field of social service to represent the party in the upper house. The proposal is likely to be discussed after the party’s fifth foundation day celebrations on November 26.

The party had reportedly approached former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan last week to represent AAP in the Rajya Sabha. However, Rajan’s office responded that he was not inclined to leave academics for the purpose.

AAP, which holds a brutal majority in the 70-member Delhi Vidhan Sabha, is slated to win all three seats when elections are held in January. Rajya Sabha members are elected by legislators of the states they represent.

The tenure of the three incumbent Rajya Sabha members from Delhi ends on January 28, 2018.

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