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AAP poll challenge to Pawar ministers

Ajit Pawar

Mumbai, Jan. 6: The Aam Aadmi Party has thrown down the gauntlet at the Nationalist Congress Party, a day after senior ministers, including Sharad Pawar’s nephew Ajit, hinted they might contest the general election.

Arvind Kejriwal’s fledgling party today announced it would field candidates to take on each of the NCP ministers, many of whom have corruption allegations against them.

Its Maharashtra convener, Anjali Damania, said: “Several of the probable names of NCP ministers have corruption allegations against them. So, it is the duty of the Aam Aadmi Party to field candidates against such tainted ministers. We have decided to field candidates against each of these ministers.”

There has been a growing buzz that Ajit and his wife Sunetra could contest the Lok Sabha poll after Pawar said yesterday that he was bowing out of electoral politics. Ajit himself fuelled the speculation by asking the ministers to fight the election if the party so wished and making it clear he would contest from Mawal or Beed if asked to.

With Pawar’s daughter Supriya Sule the Baramati MP, the NCP could field another family member from the Madha constituency that is now represented by Pawar. But NCP sources were not willing to confirm anything.

NCP state chief Bhaskar Jadhav said the party was yet to take a decision on Ajit’s candidature and the final list would be ready by January 15.

Among those likely to be given tickets are former state party chief Madhukar Pichad, home minister R.R. Patil, public works minister Chhagan Bhujbal, rural development minister Jayant Patil, former minister Gulabrao Deokar and water resources minister Sunil Tatkare.

Among the ministers who face corruption allegations are Bhujbal in the construction of Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi; Tatkare in awarding irrigation contracts and buying land through companies in which his children are directors; and Deokar in a housing scam in Jalgaon.

The AAP intends to target these ministers by fielding clean candidates and using the strength of its volunteer force to campaign against them.