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Trying to strike gender balance, AAP yet to pick four candidates in Punjab

CM to announce nominees for Ludhiana, Jalandhar on April 16

Chandigarh

Chandigarh: A bid to balance the religious and gender equations in the poll is leading to a delay in announcing the candidates of the Aam Aadmi Party for Gurdaspur, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Ferozepur.

The Chief Minister and the president of the state unit of AAP has said the candidates for Ludhiana and Jalandhar will be declared on April 16. The candidates for the remaining two seats are also expected to be announced the next week.

The ruling party has so far announced its candidates for nine of the 13 Lok Sabha constituencies. No ticket has been given to either a Hindu candidate (Dr Raj Kumar Chabbewal has been fielded from the reserved constituency of Hoshiarpur), even though over 35 percentage of voters are from the community, or fielded a woman, even as 47.4 percentage of voters are from the fairer sex.

Highly placed sources in the party have told The Tribune that the party wants to field at least two Hindu and one woman candidate. Within the party, poll strategists are keen on giving a Hindu candidate for Ludhiana and Ferozepur, if not Gurdaspur. All three constituencies are considered to have a sizeable proportion of Hindu voters.

This is because of two reasons: First, they see a Hindu re-grouping post the Ram Mandir inauguration and second, the party is wary of it being again tainted as anti-Hindu, as had happened in the 2017 Assembly polls, when the political fortunes of the party had changed dramatically after the party top brass walked into a political trap laid for them and stayed in a house owned by a former militant.

Also, say sources, the party has always claimed its USP to be a gender neutral and progressive party. During the 2022 Assembly elections, 12 women were fielded by the party, of which 11 had won the elections. This time, too, the party is keen on fielding one woman candidate. Since Rinku ditched the party after his candidature for Jalandhar was announced, sources say that the AAP leadership is in talks with a woman politician from Jalandhar. Earlier, there were reports that the disgruntled spouse of a former Gurdaspur MP was in talks with AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal. However, post his arrest, these talks have been shelved.

No woman fielded so far

  • AAP has announced its candidates for nine of the 13 parliamentary constituencies
  • No ticket has been given to either a Hindu candidate or a woman by AAP so far in the state
  • Strategists are keen on giving a Hindu candidate for Ludhiana and Ferozepur, if not Gurdaspur
  • All three constituencies are considered to have a sizeable proportion of Hindu voters
  • In talks for Jalandhar, Gurdaspur

The AAP leadership is in talks with a woman politician from Jalandhar. Earlier, there were reports that the disgruntled spouse of a former Gurdaspur MP was in talks with AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal. However, post his arrest, these talks have been shelved

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