A former senior journalist who has served as a Cabinet minister in the Atal Behari Vajpayee government is likely to be sent to the Rajya Sabha as one of the three candidates from Delhi by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), sources aware of the development told The Sunday Guardian.
The tenure of the three existing Rajya Sabha members from Delhi—Janardhan Dwivedi, Parvez Hashmi and Dr Karan Singh, all from the Congress—is ending on 27 January 2018. The three had started their term in January 2012.
This individual, when contacted for his response, said that it was all speculation and requested his name to be kept out of the report.
The former journalist in question, a winner of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award, served in the Upper House twice in the past, once from 1998-2004 and then again in 2004-2010. During his first stint, he held the charge of two very crucial ministries in the Cabinet of Atal Behari Vajpayee.
However, he has now established himself as one of the most vocal critics of the policies of the present NDA government, terming demonetisation as the “biggest money-laundering scheme ever”. According to him, it helped people to convert black money into white. He has said “note ban” was responsible for India’s economic slowdown. .
Another much talked about policy of the present government, the GST, too had come under attack from him. He said that the announcement of GST was like an “event management” exercise.
Sources said that this individual, whose credentials as a journalist and expert on government policies was well known, has emerged as a vocal anti-government voice and his likely presence in the Rajya Sabha will attract much attention when he takes on the policy of the present government as an AAP member.
“If he is sent as a representative of the AAP, the AAP, which has so far failed to make any impression in the Lok Sabha, where it has four MPs, will get a strong voice speaking on the behalf of Kejriwal who wants to emerge as the ‘people’s choice’ in the 2019 general elections,” a source who is familiar with the development said.
The notification for the Rajya Sabha polls will be issued on 29 December and the last date for nominations is 5 January 2018.
The AAP is expected to announce the name of the candidates by early next week and among the names that are doing the rounds are AAP leaders Sanjay Singh, Ashish Khetan and former TV journalist Ashutosh.