Three AAP candidates elected unopposed to Rajya Sabha

Updated At 19:55 IST

New Delhi, Jan 8 : The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Monday made its debut entry in the Rajya Sabha when its candidates Sanjay Singh, Sushil Gupta and N.D. Gupta were elected unopposed from Delhi.

Chartered accountant and AAP Accounts Manager N.D. Gupta’s candidature was challenged by the Congress saying he held an office of profit but the complaint was quashed by Returning Officer Nidhi Srivastava.

On Monday evening, the AAP candidates got ‘Certificate of Election’ confirming their election to the Upper House.

The election to the three Rajya Sabha seats from Delhi was necessitated as the tenure of the Congress members now holding the membership is set to expire later this month.

The nomination of the AAP candidates was marred by controversy after party leader Kumar Vishwas publicly expressed disappointment that he was not picked for a Rajya Sabha seat and opposed the nomination of businessman Sushil Gupta.

There was universal acceptance of Sanjay Singh’s nomination and there was no major objection to N.D. Gupta.

Informed sources told IANS that after N.D. Gupta’s candidature was approved, the two covering candidates of the AAP withdrew their nomination, making the three the only ones in the race.

The opposition parties did not nominate any candidate for the seat as the AAP enjoys a brute majority in the 70-member Delhi Assembly.

On Saturday, the scrutiny of N.D. Gupta’s nomination was put on hold till Monday by Srivastava after two complaints by Congress stating that he held an office of profit.

The Congress first stated that he was appointed a Trustee of the National Pension Scheme (NPS) Trust on March 30, 2015. Gupta told the panel that he resigned from the Trust on December 29, 2017.

In a second complaint, the Congress said Gupta had not resigned as Chairman of the Audit Committee of the NPS Trust.

But the Returning Officer said Gupta’s Chairmanship of the Audit Committee was not a violation of the election code.

“It seems an internal arrangement that the Trust had made for its working and not an independent office of Chairman. In view of this the objection on this account was not found valid,” Srivastava said in her order.

AAP veteran Sanjay Singh termed the Congress allegations a “cheap publicity stunt”.

The AAP came to power in Delhi in February 2015 but has been caught up in a running feud with the city’s centrally-nominated administrators, the Lt Governor. The AAP is also the main opposition party in both the Punjab Assembly and the municipal corporation in Delhi.

The party has four members in the Lok Sabha, all elected from Punjab, but only two are loyal to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.