THE AAM Aadmi Party (AAP) is likely to nominate former cricketer Harbhajan Singh, senior party leader Raghav Chadha, and IIT-Delhi Associate Professor Sandeep Pathak to the Rajya Sabha, sources said.
The Election Commission announced earlier that elections to five out of the seven Rajya Sabha seats from Punjab will be held on March 31. The last day for filing nominations is March 21.
“These are the three frontrunners for the three seats for now,” said a source.
“Harbhajan Singh is a youth icon and is a well-known name in the country. The party thinks he is a good pick for the post and is a strong contender,” the source said. “Raghav Chadha, meanwhile, has been associated with AAP for several years now and has risen through the ranks.”
“He was appointed the Punjab in-charge and worked with party workers for the past year or so. As polls in Punjab came closer, he spent most of his time there managing things. He is already an MLA from Delhi, but the party believes he can be a valuable addition in the Rajya Sabha. Discussions on several names, however, are and will remain ongoing till the end to make sure the most suitable people are sent to the Upper House,” the source said.
Party sources said Pathak is also among the frontrunners.
“He is basically an analyst and a strategist, who helped the party a lot during Punjab polls from behind the scenes. Being a teacher at IIT Delhi, he also perfectly fits the profile that AAP has in the past been keen on promoting,” said a party official.
The AAP had run into troubled waters with its Rajya Sabha picks in 2018 from Delhi. While it gave one seat to senior party leader Sanjay Singh, the remaining two were given to Sushil Gupta and N D Gupta, new entrants in the party, amid backlash from within the party as well as outside.
Several high-level meetings are underway in Delhi over the past few days to pick five names for the Upper House.
“Discussions are underway. The party does not have much time left as the last day for filing nominations is Monday. Decisions have to be taken quickly,” a senior party leader said.