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Monday , February 17 , 2014
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Man-marking enters polls
- AAP springs nominees on big guns

in cross hairs

Nine of the 20 candidates announced by the AAP on Sunday will be fielded in seats associated with some of the 31 MPs whose names the party has included in a list of alleged beimaan (dishonest) leaders

Seat: Amethi, now represented by Rahul Gandhi

AAP nominee: Kumar Vishwas, poet

Seat: Mainpuri, now represented by Mulayam Singh Yadav

AAP nominee: Baba Hardev, former bureaucrat

Seat: Chandni Chowk, now represented by Kapil Sibal

AAP nominee: Ashutosh, former TV anchor

Seat: Farrukhabad, now represented by Salman Khurshid

AAP nominee: Mukesh Tripathi, former journalist

Seat: Mumbai South, now represented by Milind Deora

AAP nominee: Meera Sanyal, former banker

Seat: Ludhiana, now represented by Manish Tewari

AAP nominee: H.S. Phoolka, lawyer who pursued anti-Sikh riot cases

Seat: Pune, now held by Suresh Kalmadi

AAP nominee: Subhash Wade, activist

Seat: Mumbai Northwest, now represented by Gurudas Kamat

AAP nominee: Mayank Gandhi, AAP leader

Seat: Nagpur, the home turf of former BJP president Nitin Gadkari who may fight his first Lok Sabha election from here this time

AAP nominee: Anjali Damania, who had levelled corruption charges against Gadkari


Some other notable AAP candidates and their seats

Gurgaon: AAP ideologue Yogendra Yadav

Mumbai Northeast: Medha Patkar

Delhi West: Jarnail Singh, the former journalist who had lobbed a shoe at P Chidambaram

New Delhi, Feb. 16: Man-marking, usually seen on the soccer field when Lionel Messi is in action, has entered the biggest game of them all that will precede the World Cup this year.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today positioned nine candidates in seats associated with high-profile figures of the Congress, BJP and the Samajwadi Party.

The nine candidates, who are part of the first list of 20 candidates, will take on leaders who have been named in a “beimaan (dishonest)” list drawn up by the AAP.

Some of the targeted leaders whose seats were picked out today include Rahul Gandhi, Nitin Gadkari and Mulayam Singh Yadav. The alleged blacklist has 31 names, including that of Narendra Modi and Sonia Gandhi — so more AAP candidates for such seats are expected to figure on subsequent lists.

Such “marked” attacks are not new in Indian politics — the BJP had fielded Sushma Swaraj against Sonia in 2004, a gamble that did not pay off.

But the scale of the AAP initiative appears far bigger than isolated contests.

Although man-marking in soccer sometimes involves several players encircling an opponent, the objective in sport and politics is common: tie down and harass the star as much as possible.

In politics, the tactic has advantages that are not always guaranteed on the playing field: publicity and maximum impact with minimum effort.

By fielding better-known candidates against some of the most high-profile politicians in the country, the AAP is hoping to keep up the buzz, sustain the excitement among its core constituencies and ensure that attention is always focused on some of its candidates. In the process, if the established candidates’ votes get divided, they could be in trouble even if the AAP nominee does not win.

The AAP has placed its candidates carefully. In Mumbai South, the party has picked Meera Sanyal, the former banker who was in Calcutta yesterday to participate in the Calcutta Club The Telegraph National Debate 2014.

The sitting MP of Mumbai South is Milind Deora, who is considered popular among young and urban voters — the same sections that Sanyal is expected to court.

In Chandni Chowk, now represented by minister Kapil Sibal, the AAP has picked Ashutosh, a TV anchor familiar to Delhi viewers.

Going by a tweet from Ashutosh, it appears Sibal, once a bitter critic of Arvind Kejriwal, has wished luck for his challenger. “Thanks for wishing me good luck Sibal Saheb. Good luck to you too sir,” Ashutosh tweeted this evening.

In Rahul’s Amethi, the AAP has chosen the expected name: Kumar Vishwas who had already carried out a dry run there.

Hardcore politics was at play in some of the choices. Against minister Manish Tewari in Ludhiana, the AAP has pitted H.S. Phoolka, a lawyer who has been pursuing anti-Sikh riot complaints.

In Delhi West, the AAP has opted for Jarnail Singh, the former journalist who lobbed a shoe at then home minister P. Chidambaram in protest against the anti-Sikh riots.

The two nominations suggest that the AAP is hoping to reap dividends from its short-lived government’s move to institute a probe by a special investigation team into the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi.

The big question now is whether Kejriwal will contest against Modi — as he did against Sheila Dikshit.

AAP leader Manish Sisodia kept the issue open by saying: “Let it be clear first from where Modiji would contest.”

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