Punjab: Aam Aadmi Party fields green activist for polls
The Aam Aadmi Party will send an environmentalist and yet another philanthropist to the Rajya Sabha from Punjab.
Chief minister Bhagwant Mann announced on Saturday that Balbir Singh Seechewal — a Sikh spiritual and environment activist credited with rejuvenating rivers in the state — and Sun Group owner Vikramjeet Singh Sahney, a philanthropist, will be fielded for the polls on June 10.
The party has enough MLAs to elect the two.
AAP had drawn flak for its nomination of five members to the Upper House from Punjab in March.
Only two — Raghav Chadha and Sandeep Pathak — were previously associated with the party.
Chadha is from Delhi and Pathak from Uttar Pradesh.
Of the remaining three, all of whom were from Punjab, there were two “philanthropists” — educationist Ashok Mittal and exporter Sanjeev Arora. Cricketer Harbhajan Singh was the third in the group.
None of them is known to be politically articulate and some were seen as “moneybags”.
A similar insinuation was made when AAP sent former Congress leader Sushil Gupta and chartered accountant N.D. Gupta to the Upper House in 2018.
With Sahney, the party’s affinity for “philanthropists” has continued though. AAP’s strength in the Rajya Sabha will rise to 10 and this will be the first time the Congress won’t have a single Upper House member from Punjab.
The term of Rajya Sabha members from Punjab — the Congress’s Ambika Soni and the Akali Dal’s Balwinder Singh Bhunder — will end on July 4.
With Mann vacating his seat in the Lok Sabha to become an MLA, AAP currently has no member in the Lower House. The bypoll for his former Sangrur seat is on June 23.