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Harbhajan, Chadha among 5 AAP candidates for Rajya Sabha polls

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: March 21, 2022 21:55 IST
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The Aam Aadmi Party has nominated former cricketer Harbhajan Singh, Lovely Professional University founder Ashok Mittal, AAP MLA Raghav Chadha, IIT Delhi faculty Sandeep Pathak and industrialist Sanjeev Arora for the March 31 Rajya Sabha polls.

IMAGE: Former cricketer Harbhajan Singh after filing nomination for Rajya Sabha from Punjab. Photograph: ANI

All five party candidates filed their nomination papers at the Punjab Vidhan Sabha complex here on Monday.

On being elected, 33-year-old Raghav Chadha will be the youngest Rajya Sabha member. Currently, the youngest member is Olympics bronze medallist boxer Mary Kom (39).

The term of five Rajya Sabha members from Punjab -- Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (SAD), Naresh Gujral (SAD), Partap Singh Bajwa (Congress), Shamsher Singh Dullo (Congress) and Shwait Malik (BJP) -- will expire on April 9.

Harbhajan Singh was a former spinner of the Indian cricket team.

Hailing from Jalandhar, Singh also captained Mumbai Indians and Kings Xl Punjab in the IPL.

Talking to the media, Singh said his focus will be on promoting sports and improving sports-related infrastructure.

 

Ashok Mittal is the founder of Phagwara-based Lovely Professional University, which was the first private university in the state.

The LPU is one of the largest universities in India, having students from more than 50 countries. Mittal's family dealt in the business of sweets.

Raghav Chadha, 33, is the sitting the MLA from Rajinder Nagar in Delhi. Chadha was the party's co-incharge for Punjab affairs and he was considered by the party as one of the architects of the AAP's victory in the state assembly polls.

Sandeep Pathak, who did his PhD from Cambridge University of the UK, was also instrumental in strategising the AAP's victory in the Assembly polls. He is an associate professor at the IIT, Delhi.

Sanjeev Arora, a businessman from Ludhiana, runs Krishna Pran Breast Cancer Charitable Trust. He founded it after his parents died due to cancer and treated more than 160 cancer patients free of cost.

Arora is on the governing board of Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, and is also a member of the apex council of the Punjab Cricket Association.

All five candidates are set to be elected to the upper House of parliament as AAP had won 92 of the 117 seats in the recently held state Assembly polls.

Congress MLA Sukhpal Khaira said the candidates announced by AAP have a clear stamp of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Khaira said he was under the impression that Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann will ensure some prominent personalities from Punjab in the Upper House of Parliament so that they could effectively take up the issues pertaining to the state.

However, it appeared that by nominating Raghav Chadha, Sandeep Pathak, Ashok Mittal, Sanjiv Arora and Harbhajan Singh, the newly elected chief minister of Punjab "completely surrendered" the interests of Punjab.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) said AAP had struck the first blow against Punjab and Punjabiat by nominating "rank outsiders" to the Rajya Sabha and in the process "betrayed" people of the state.

SAD legislative wing leader Manpreet Singh Ayali said, "Is this the 'badlav' the Aam Aadmi Party was talking about? Far from a sweeping pro-Punjab and pro-Punjabiat change, AAP seems to have cheated Punjabis by doling out Rajya Sabha tickets to businessmen, something which it has earlier done in Delhi also."

"It has also given a ticket to a henchman, besides rewarding a back room strategist. It has in this process ignored thousands of deserving party workers besides renowned Punjabis who were much more deserving of this honour," he said.

The last date for filing nominations is Monday while the scrutiny will take place on Tuesday, according to an official release.

The last date for the withdrawal of candidature is March 24.

The elections to fill 13 Rajya Sabha seats across six states will be held on March 31.

The counting will be held on the same day.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India has appointed Punjab Chief Electoral Officer Punjab Dr S Karuna Raju as Observer for the upcoming biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2022 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
 
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