Balbir Singh Seechewal and Vikramjit Singh Sahney are AAP nominees for Rajya Sabha polls : The Tribune India
Ruchika M. Khanna
Chandigarh, May 28
The Aam Aadmi Party has chosen prominent environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal and industrialist and philanthropist Vikramjit Singh Sahney as party candidates for Rajya Sabha.
The duo are expected to file their nominations on Monday. Both candidates are eminent personalities, having previously received Padma Shri from the Government of India.
Their election to Rajya Sabha is more or less certain, as the opposition parties collectively do not even have the required numbers in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha to lobby for their own candidates. Election results are to be announced on June 10.
With the election of the two candidates currently presented by the AAP for RS membership, the strength of the party in the Upper House will be 10. It can be mentioned that after almost seven decades, the Congress will have no RS candidate of the state, and SAD will have no candidate for the upper house for the first time in 22 years.
The terms of Rajya Sabha members from Punjab Ambika Soni (Congress) and Balwinder Singh Bhunder (Shiromani Akali Dal) are due to expire on July 4.
It may be mentioned that the AAP had drawn the ire of the opposition during the elections for five Rajya Sabha seats in March this year, as the party was accused by them of sending ‘non-Punjabis to Rajya Sabha to represent the state. The party then sent its Punjab affairs in charge Raghav Chadha, its poll strategist Sandeep Pathak, cricketer Harbhajan Singh and industrialists Ashok Mittal and Sanjeev ‘Sunny’ Arora to the Rajya Sabha.
This time, the party high command chose environmentalist Seechewal and industrialist Sahney as candidates for the Upper House. Although the latter does not live in Punjab, his contribution to the promotion of Punjab and its culture is unquestionable. He is the chairman of the World Punjabi Organization which works in 22 countries to promote Punjab, its culture and heritage.
Interestingly, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann was in Seechewal village yesterday where he finally managed to convince Balbir Singh Seechewal to be the party’s RS candidate.
About the nominees
Balbir Singh Seechewal is a renowned environmental activist and social worker. He was awarded the Padma Shri for rejuvenating the 160 km Kali Bein – a tributary of the Sutlej and Beas rivers. He also built schools and colleges for the underprivileged in different places in Punjab. He received the SAARC Environmental Award and was also commended by the Dalai Lama.
Known as Eco Baba, he was hailed as one of the top 30 environmental heroes in the world by Time magazine. His work was endorsed by the late President APJ Abdul Kalam, who had visited him twice in his village of Seechewal.
Vikramjeet Singh Sahney is an entrepreneur, educator and philanthropist. He is the international president of the World Punjabi Organization.
Recently, he helped evacuate more than 500 Afghan Hindus and Sikhs by sending three charter flights and assisted in their rehabilitation in India. His social service during the peak of the Covid pandemic was widely appreciated. The SGPC also awarded him the Anmol Sikh Rattan Award for exemplary service.
Congratulations and best wishes to both of you. With their vast experience, they will enrich the SR debates and also forcefully raise issues affecting the common man in Rajya Sabha. https://t.co/ElQHW5TKl5
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) May 28, 2022