Reiterating its commitment to be a part of the INDIA alliance, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) National General Secretary Organisation Dr Sandeep Pathak has announced the candidature of its party’s nominee for two seats in Gujarat and one seat in Goa for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. He also announced that the AAP will field six candidates in Delhi, leaving one seat for its alliance partner, the Congress, for the Lok Sabha elections.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Political Affairs Committee of the Aam Aadmi Party chaired by the party’s National Convenor Shri Arvind Kejriwal, held earlier in the day.

Addressing media persons here today, Dr Sandeep Pathak said the decision has been taken based on the merit and winnability of the candidates to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.

He said the aim of the INDIA alliance was that all the constituent political parties should work together in the interest of the country. The idea was to come together and give a good government to this country by contesting and winning the elections for the alliance without worrying about our political interests and keeping the interest of the country in mind.

Dr Sandeep Pathak said the AAP is a part of this alliance with full honesty and dedication and whatever it takes to make this alliance successful, his party will do it with full strength. “But you must understand that the objective of the alliance is to contest elections, win elections and give a new option to the country. And if contesting elections and winning elections is the basis of this entire exercise, then all things related to contesting elections become important. Making announcements, planning your campaign, getting everyone together and discussing how to take this election forward,” he said.

Explaining the reason behind the AAP making the announcement on its own, Dr Sandeep Pathak said despite repeated failed attempts to hold discussions with Congress in the last month, he is making the announcement with the sole purpose of defeating the BJP. “We held two official meetings on seat sharing with the Congress on January 8 and January 12. Both meetings took place in a congenial atmosphere, but without any result,” he said, adding that since then no meeting had taken place with the Congress in the last month and some prominent leaders of the Congress were also clueless as to when the seat-sharing talks would be held.

Dr Sandeep Pathak said the AAP representatives in the alliance were told that the Congress party’s tour (Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra) is going on, hence it is getting late. “We kept waiting. Meanwhile, I got a chance to meet many prominent leaders of Congress and they too have no idea. There is no clarity as to when the next meeting will be held. It is going to be more than a month. In such a situation, if your aim is to win the election, then a question arises in your mind, and you worry that it will be very difficult to win the election in this way. This worry is the reason why I am sitting here today, and I am sitting here with a heavy heart. There would have been no need to do this if we had talked,” said Dr Sandeep Pathak,” he said.

The AAP National General Secretary Organisation said he was hopeful that three candidates announced by the AAP for Assam Lok Sabha constituencies would be acceptable to the INDIA alliance. “A few days ago, we had announced three candidates in Assam. I hope that the INDIA alliance will accept these three candidates that we have announced,” he said.

Dr Sandeep Pathak also announced Benaulim MLA Venzy Viegas as the AAP candidate for the South Goa parliamentary constituency. “On behalf of the Aam Aadmi Party, I announce our leader Venzy Viegas as our candidate from South Goa. I hope that the INDIA alliance will accept this and allow it,” he said.

Dr Sandeep Pathak said in the Goa assembly elections, two seats _ both in the South were bagged by the AAP and three were won by the Congress. Both our MLAs are doing good work in South Goa and are quite popular there. So, keeping in mind the seat share and the winnability, AAP has nominated its candidate for one (South Goa) seat and one parliamentary seat ticket must go to the Congress. “Keeping that in mind, the Aam Aadmi Party has today announced the candidature of Shri Venzy Viegas,” he said.

The AAP National General Secretary Organisation also announced the candidature of two AAP leaders _ Dediapada MLA Chaitar Vasava and Botad MLA Umeshbhai Makwana _ for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. While Chaitar Vasava will contest from Bharuch, Umeshbhai Makwana will contest from the Bhavnagar Lok Sabha constituency. “I hope that the INDIA alliance will accept it and by working hard, we will win this seat,” he said.

The AAP National General Secretary Organisation said in the Gujarat Assembly elections, the Aam Aadmi Party won five seats with a 13% vote share, while the Congress got 17 seats with a 27% vote share. If you look at it purely scientifically and on a merit basis, then the Aam Aadmi Party should get one-third seats and the Congress should get two-thirds seats in the Lok Sabha elections to contest under the alliance. “According to this, our share of seats for Parliament election comes to eight, keeping merit and winnability in perspective. We have asked for eight seats from the INDIA alliance. We will announce two seats today and after considering the candidates for the remaining six seats, we will announce in a few days. The Congress Party will contest 18 seats and the Aam Aadmi Party will contest 8 seats, which is reasonable on the basis of merit and vote share. is the darling on 8 seats,” he said.

As for the Bharuch seat, Dr Sandeep Pathak said he was told by the Congress that it was an “emotional seat” for them as the late Congress leader Ahmed Patel used to contest from this seat and now his daughter, Mumtaz, will fight from here. However, the data suggested that the Congress contested this seat from 1977 to 1991 and won it only once in 1984. It has been 40 years since the Congress won this seat. Besides that, in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, you will see that the BJP got a 55% vote share and the Congress party got a 26% vote share. So, it is not an emotional seat. This seat is neither Ahmed Bhai’s seat nor is it a specific seat of the Congress where there is a probability of winning.

“I want to say with full seriousness that if you want to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party today, you will have to come out of nepotism. You will have to focus on who can win which seat and who can defeat the BJP. Today in Bharuch, the way in which all the sentiments are there. Bharuch wants Chaitarbhai Vasava to become their candidate. The entire tribal community wants Chaitarbhai Vasava to become their candidate. “If there is anything emotional in Bharuch, then there is only one emotional thing and that is Vasava ji should be made a candidate from there. Today, I want to say with all seriousness to you that if someone can defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party on one seat, then it is Chaitarbhai Vasava on behalf of India Alliance on the Bharuch seat. We should see who can defeat the BJP. We were told that Mumtaz ji is Ahmed Bhai’s daughter, Mumtaz ji lives in Delhi, she does not have any political influence there, so I believe that this is not an emotional seat. Neither is it an emotional seat nor is it a Congress party seat,” he said.

Dr Sandeep Pathak also announced that of the seven parliamentary seats in Delhi, the AAP will field its candidates on six seats. He said the decision has been taken keeping in mind the winnability and merit as well as at the same time honoring the alliance dharma. “The Congress Party has zero seats in the Lok Sabha and has zero seats in the Legislative Assembly. They have only 9 seats out of 250 in MCD. If we look at the complete data, Congress does not have a share of even a single seat. But the data is not the only important thing. It is the religion of alliance and honoring the alliance and the Congress demand, our proposal is that the Congress should contest on one seat and the Aam Aadmi Party should contest on six seats. We are not announcing the candidates today. I hope that the talks about Delhi will start soon and conclude very soon. So that we all start working. And if there is still no conclusion, then in the next few days we will announce the candidates for those six seats and we will start our preparation for the election,” he said.

Dr Sandeep Pathak said respecting the decision of the state units of the AAP as well as the Congress in Punjab, it has been decided to go solo in the upcoming Lok Sabha poll there.

The AAP National General Secretary Organisation also hoped that the talks on seat sharing in Haryana and Chandigarh will soon be held with the Congress.

Dr Sandeep Pathak said while the AAP has announced its candidates for South Goa and two seats in Gujarat, the party is very much a part of the alliance. “Through you, I want to put this before the entire nation and before everyone that we fully respect the alliance dharma, we aim to save the country. The Aam Aadmi Party is not important, the country is important. But it must be seen who can defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party and how we should work on this. Whatever we are announcing today, there is a need to talk through you here. It is necessary to do this, but I am doing it with a heavy heart. I hope that further talks will start soon, and everything will be resolved. We will work together to make the INDIA alliance strong,” he concluded.

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