January 13, 2022 7:51:01 am
With screening committee of Punjab Congress zeroing on a single name of most suitable candidate from around 60 Assembly constituencies and sending a list to AICC interim president Sonia Gandhi, the Congress has scheduled the Central Election Committee (CEC) for Punjab at 6 pm on Thursday.
Sources said, if all goes well, the CEC may release the first list of Congress on Thursday. “As the meeting may go on till late in the evening, the first list may be released after that. If not Thursday, then it may be out of Friday,” a leader privy of developments said.
“However, we have not got the virtual link for the meeting yet. Let us see,” said a leader.
A meeting of screening committee was held virtually on Wednesday which was attended by screening committee chief Ajay Maken, Chief Minister Charanjit Channi, PPCC chief Navjot Sidhu, former PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar and others.
It is learnt that most of the tickets that would be announced in the first list would be of sitting party MLAs. The Congress had 80 MLAs out of 117. A few Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs had also defected to Congress a few months ago. Most of them are not likely to be in the first list. While Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala is likely to be fielded from Mansa, leaving Nazar Singh Manshahia, who had defected to Congress from AAP, in the lurch, the Maur constituency is also likely to go to a Congress leader Mangat Rai Bansal or his wife Manju Bansal.
Jagdev Kamalu, sitting AAP MLA from Maur had joined Congress. Bhadaur, from where AAP’s Nirmal Singh joined Congress is unlikely to be in the first list. The screening committee has left the decision on Bholath, a seat represented by Sukhpal Khaira, who is facing trial in an Enforcement Directorate case. He had joined Congress after quitting AAP. The party, however, may give the ticket to either his wife or son for want of an effective candidate.
Sources also said that the party has been internally discussing that top guns of Punjab should be fielded from two constituencies. For instance, it was earlier discussing that Channi should also contest from Adampur in Doaba but it was debated that Doaba could already be consolidating behind Channi, as the region has sizeable SC votes. “It is now being suggested that he should be fielded from Mehal Kalan in Sangrur in Malwa region, a stronghold of AAP leader Bhagwant Mann, who is a sitting MP from Sangrur. It is being felt that if Channi contest from Sangrur, it would be seen as his entering Mann’s citadel. But no final decision has been taken yet. It is pending,” said a source.
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