Did allegations against Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan and former Delhi law minister Somnath Bharati kill the prospects of former IAS officer Arun Bhatia of contesting Lok Sabha (LS) election on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ticket? Yes, if sources are to be believed.
Congregation: AAP workers at a meeting in Narayan Peth yesterday. Pics/Mohan Patil
Despite his name doing rounds as the AAP's primary candidate to contest LS polls from Pune, the party named Subhash Ware in the list it disclosed during a party meet in Narayan Peth yesterday. The list also put an end to the speculations that developer D S Kulkarni and former hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay were in the race to contest elections from Pune on an AAP ticket.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Bhatia said in his letters to former Delhi chief minister and AAP told leader Arvind Kejriwal, he had raised doubts over the property owned by Prashant Bhushan and had criticised the then law minister Somanth Bharati. Bhatia claimed the party's decision was expected and now he would be contesting polls from People's Guardian Party, founded by him in 2009.
"I sent two letters to Kejriwal, after I filed candidature form of AAP, on the five things he (Kejriwal) should immediately do to maintain transparency and truthfulness for good governance. Out of two, I kept one letter in public domain. The other I forwarded to Kejriwal, questioning him why the party is still associated with Bharati and Bhushan who have controversial backgrounds," Bhatia said.
Though the former Delhi CM is yet to reply, Bhatia believes his letters might have been reasons for the AAP to refuse him its candidature.
The two sides
Refuting Bhatia's speculations, one of the AAP district committee members claimed that Bhatia was threatening them to choose him as their candidate from Pune or else he would contest as an independent. The member said Bhatia's aggressive approach was the reason for AAP to deny him a ticket.
Refusing to accept the AAP committee member's allegations, Bhatia said it was mentioned in the form that an aspiring candidate could choose to contest elections independently if denied an AAP ticket.
A former pharmacy professor, Ware is an expert on the Indian Constitution. He was an active member of the Rashtra Seva Dal, a youth organisation of the Socialist Party. Currently, he is the national executive committee member of AAP. Ware said he was confident of getting a ticket to contest LS polls from the city because he fulfilled the criteria laid down by his party.