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A section of Aam Aadmi Party workers are demanding that the party project its Rajasthan in-charge Vishwas as candidate for Ajmer by-poll

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) may have been formed with the promise of offering the electorate a political platform devoid of internal cunning and intrigue, yet some five years after its birth the outfit seems to be fraught with the same troubles that it blamed the Congress and BJP for.

While it had successfully left in the past the bitterness and dissatisfaction that had been caused within its ranks when founding members Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav were shown the door, AAP is now struck by a new internal turmoil – one triggered by Kumar Vishwas – with weeks to go before the biennial Rajya Sabha polls for three seats from the national capital.

Amid reports that the Arvind Kejriwal-led party wants to nominate ‘outsiders’ – distinguished individuals from various walks of life – for Delhi’s three Rajya Sabha seats instead of its own leaders, Vishwas has publicly been pushing for his candidature for one of these berths that fall vacant this month. With supporters of Vishwas openly staging protests against the AAP troika of Kejriwal, his confidante and Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and party leader Sanjay Singh and demanding that the poet-politician be named as the party candidate, an interesting plot seems to be in the works to check-mate Vishwas’ bid.

Sources in the Aam Aadmi Party told APN Live that a section of party workers, known to be loyalists of Kejriwal and Sisodia, have begun a campaign seeking candidature of Vishwas from Rajasthan’s Ajmer parliamentary constituency which will witness a by-poll on January 29. Vishwas has been the in-charge of party affairs in Rajasthan and claims to have widespread support in the state.

Besides Ajmer, the Alwar parliamentary constituency and Mandalgarh assembly seat in Rajasthan will also witness a by-election on January 29, the results for all three seats are scheduled to be announced on February 1.

The manufactured undercurrent for Kumar Vishwas’ candidature for the Ajmer by-poll is sources say, a way of the Kejriwal-led AAP leadership to claim publicly – and before its supporters – that it has faith in the disgruntled leader’s ability to enter Parliament by winning the people’s mandate and so wouldn’t field him for a back-door entry – the Rajya Sabha nomination. Privately though, the tactic would stall Vishwas’ bid for a Rajya Sabha berth and in all probability scuttle his chance of an electoral victory as he is unlikely to win the Ajmer by-poll.

The Ajmer constituency is set to witness an intense by-poll campaign between the two key political players of Rajasthan – the Congress and BJP. The seat was won by BJP’s Sanwar Lal Jat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls who had defeated the then sitting MP – Congress leader Sachin Pilot. Jat’s demise in August last year has necessitated the by-poll. Though neither the Congress, nor the BJP have yet declared their candidates from the seat, political observers are certain that the constituency will witness a bipolar contest between the two traditional rivals. Further, there is a buzz that the Congress might field Sachin Pilot, its state unit chief and former Ajmer MP, as the candidate from this seat. The intense fight in the Congress and BJP camps for Ajmer is expected to leave no political space for a novice like Vishwas or his party which hardly has any grassroots presence across Rajasthan.

If Vishwas is declared the AAP candidate from Ajmer, sources say a crushing defeat is in store for him. Such an eventuality will help Kejriwal further blunt any political ambitions of his confidante-turned-rival.

Meanwhile, with most ‘outsiders’ turning down Kejriwal’s offer of being the party’s Rajya Sabha candidate, sources said AAP is likely to name its senior leader Sanjay Singh as candidate for one of the berths that will fall vacant later this month. For the other two seats, the party is likely to field social activist and businessman Sushil Gupta and prominent chartered accountant ND Gupta. The name of senior AAP leader and former journalist Ashutosh is also not ruled out.

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