Harbhajan Singh and Raghav Chadha among the 5 nominees from Punjab

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Arvind Kejriwal has nominated cricketer Harbhajan Singh, Delhi MP Raghav Chadha, Lovely Professional University (LPU) founder Ashok Mittal, IIT Delhi Professor Sandeep Pathak and industrialist Sanjeev Arora at the Rajya Sabha of Punjab.

Five Punjab seats in the Upper House will become vacant on April 9 when the terms of the current MPs expire. At present, the seats are held by Pratap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo from Congress, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Naresh Gujral from Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Shwait Malik from BJP. Elections to fill the seats will take place on March 31 and nominations must be submitted by March 21.

Punjab has a total of seven seats in the Rajya Sabha. The terms of two other members – Balwinder Singh Bhunder of SAD and Ambika Soni of Congress – will end on July 4, after which elections for those two seats will be held.

The AAP recently seized power in Punjab, winning 92 seats out of 117 members of the assembly. At present, the AAP’s strength in the Rajya Sabha is three, which will rise to eight after the Rajya Sabha polls.

Here is an overview of the five appointed members of Punjab:

Harbhajan Singh: Former spinner Harbhajan Singh, 41, who took over 700 wickets in his 18-year career, recently retired from active sports. Singh had met former Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu before the election, a move that fueled speculation about his political debut as a member of the Congress party. However, the spinner denied and even congratulated his friend Bhagwant Mann for becoming Punjab’s new CM.

Singh, a native of Jalandhar, is known for his philanthropic projects and social work in Punjab. The appointment of Harbhajan Singh is likely to help AAP strengthen its ties with young people. Singh could also help build a sports university in Punjab as promised by the CM.

Raghav Chadha: Chadha has been associated with the AAP for several years and is currently an MP for Rajindra Nagar in Delhi and Deputy Chairperson of the Delhi Jal Board. Chadha was co-leader of the party in Punjab.

“I will raise the issue of the people of Punjab and protect their interests in parliament,” ANI quoted Chadha as filing the candidacy documents for the Rajya Sabha.

Sandep Pathak: Pathak is a professor of physics at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi, who has worked with AAP for a few years now. He received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2011 and has worked as an Adjunct Professor at IIT since 2016. Working primarily behind the scenes, Pathak has been instrumental in shaping the AAP’s strategy for elections in Punjab. He is said to have stayed in Punjab for nearly three years to help form a stand-level organization, ANI reported.

Ashok Mittal: Ashok Kumar Mittal is the founder of Lovely Professional University and is known for his social service and contribution to education.

Sanjeev Arora: Punjabi entrepreneur, Sanjeev Arora is the founder of Krishna Pran Breast Cancer Care Charitable Trust. Arora started the Cancer Trust after losing both parents to the disease. The Ludhiana-based industrialist is known for his charity work spanning over 15 years.

(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)


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