The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nominated environmentalist Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal and entrepreneur, philanthropist, and social activist Vikramjit Singh Sahni as its candidates for Rajya Sabha seats from Punjab.
The term of Rajya Sabha members from Punjab, Ambika Soni (Congress) and Balwinder Singh Bhunder (Shiromani Akali Dal) will end on July 4.
Both candidates are Padma Shri awardees.
Environmentalist Balbir Singh Seechewal was awarded the Padma Shri for rejuvenating the 160 km-long tributaries of the Satluj and Beas rivers. He also received the SAARC Environmental Award and was felicitated by the Dalai Lama. Time Magazine named him one of the Top 30 Heroes of the Environment in the world. He is known as 'Eco Baba'. Late president APJ Abdul Kalam had visited Seechewal in his village twice and supported his work.
Vikramjeet Singh Sahni has evacuated over 500 Afghan Hindus and Sikhs and rehabilitated them. He also ensured free education for their children. He is also the international president of the WPO (World Punjabi Organisation) which is active in 22 countries. The organisation works to promote social, economic, and cultural ties.
During the pandemic, he was known for setting up AI-run mobile testing clinics. He also supplied 2,000 oxygen cylinders a day. He is known among the Punjabi community as the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has also honoured him with the Anmol Sikh Rattan Award.
Sahni also runs Sun Foundation to provide free skill development centres for special needs youth.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann tweeted that is happy to inform that AAP is nominating two Padma Shri awardees as members of the Rajya Sabha. He noted that Sahni is related to Punjabi culture and wished the best to both nominees.