The followers of Aam Aadmi Party consists mainly of the educated and poor class. The poor class generally has nothing to do with what happens at the top level of the party, but the educated class always keeps an eye on every decision taken by the party. There are also many volunteers of Aam Aadmi Party who work at street level. These party workers always keep analyzing all the movements of their leaders. The party has also given them importance. Whether it was about forming the government by taking support from Congress or going for the re-elections, the party has always taken their opinion. But when it came to sending three of their representatives to the Upper House of the Parliament, the decision was taken only by 9 people who are members of their Political Affairs Committee (PAC).
As per the Indian Constitution, the Upper House of the Parliament (i.e. Rajya Sabha) consists of the members chosen by the various members of State Assemblies (i.e. Vidhan Sabha). The selection is done by the various Vidhan Sabhas after every 5 years respectively. Last time, Delhi Assembly took this decision in the year 2013 when Delhi Government was led by Congress. At that time, the names of Karan Singh, Janardhan Dwivedi and Pervez Hashmi were selected for the representation of Delhi in Upper House. Later, in 2015, AAP won Delhi elections with 67 seats out of 70 seats. Hence, it is the first time these 67 people are sending their representatives to Rajya Sabha.
Ideally, as per the constitution of India, Rajya Sabha is meant to be an assembly where elders of different state participate in the process of lawmaking while keeping a check on the Lower House (i.e. Lok Sabha). However, in 2003, an Amendment was passed by the parliament that made it optional for a Rajya Sabha members to hold a domicile of the state that he represents. Even after that, Rajya Sabha must consist of elderly people who are ethical and are obliged by the society.
This time, it was the turn of Aam Aadmi Party to send three people to the house of higher value. The supporters of AAP were expecting these people to be the people who are very familiar to them for their social work. There were rumours that Kumar Vishwas, Ashutosh, and Sanjay Singh are going to be selected by AAP. But what actually happened was completely unexpected. The PAC nominated Sanjay Singh, N. D. Gupta and Sushil Gupta for Rajya Sabha. All the allegations went into vain as two of these names were never heard by most of the people.
Just after the announcement of these names by the PAC, some remarks of displeasure and resentment came from Kumar Vishwas, who is himself a member of PAC but didn’t attend the meeting that took this decision. He has even shown his disagreement with this decision in some of his tweets:
Some ex-leaders of Aam Aadmi Party like Kapil Mishra and Yogendra Yadav have even accused Aam Aadmi Party of selling these seats by taking an amount of 50 crores by each one of the nominated members.
Notably, Sushil Gupta is a billionaire who has also fought elections in 2013 against AAP on a Congress ticket. He was also the General Secretary of Delhi Pradesh Youth Congress Committee and executive committee member of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee. By Profession, he is a businessman who is the owner of Ganga International Schools, a big chain of Schools spread across various parts of Delhi and Haryana. In Delhi Assembly elections of 2013, he was the second richest MLA candidate and declared assets worth Rs. 164 Crore. AAP’s Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Manish Sisodia said that his name was chosen because he provides free education to 15,000 children.
On the other hand, Narayan Dass Gupta is a Chartered Accountant and an Economist. He is the first ever Indian who has been elected on the Board of International Federation of Accountants, USA. Along with that, he has also served as the President of Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI). According to the affidavit submitted by him for his Rajya Sabha Nomination, he has declared total assets worth 9.6 crores.
Arguably, both these people have done social work, but their bank balance is something that should concern most people. If AAP wanted to send some social worker to the Parliament, they could have easily found someone who has done tremendous work in this field by donating his efforts and not the money. But such person wouldn’t have given any funding to the Party which is one of the first things that are required to run a Political Party these days.