The Punjab Democratic Alliance (PDA) Monday announced candidates for seven of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The PDA also arrived at a consensus on seats that each ally will contest. The alliance comprises Punjab Ekta Party (PEP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Lok Insaaf Party (LIP), suspended AAP MP Dharamvira Gandhi’s Nava Punjab Party (NPP), CPI and the Revolutionary Marxist Party of India (RMPI).
The PDA has fielded suspended Gandhi from Patiala, Paramjit Kaur Khalra, wife of missing rights activist Jaswant Singh Khalra, from Khadoor Sahib, Manwinder Singh Giaspura from Fatehgarh Sahib (SC), Jaiti MLA Baldev Singh Jaiton, who has resigned from the AAP, from Faridkot (SC), Vikram Singh Sodhi from Anandpur Sahib, former bureaucrat Khushi Ram from Hoshiarpur (SC) and Balwinder Kumar from Jalandhar (SC) seat.
In a meeting held here, PDA leaders also arrived at a consensus on seats that each ally will contest, PEP leader Sukhpal Khaira told mediapersons here.
He said BSP has been allocated Anandpur Sahib, Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur seats, while PEP will contest on Bathinda, Faridkot and Khadoor Sahib seats. The LIP, led by Bains brothers, will field candidates from Ludhiana, Amritsar and Fatehgarh Sahib. The NPP has been allotted Patiala seat while, CPI and RMPI will contest from Ferozepur and Gurdaspur, respectively.
Gandhi announced that he has got his political party registered as Nava Punjab Party (NPP), on whose symbol he will contest the Lok Sabha polls for re-election from Patiala.
He said that the NPP will be the successor of the Punjab Manch that he had floated. “We have got this new party registered today with the Election Commission,” he said.
Gandhi was elected on the AAP ticket in 2014 but was suspended by the party in 2015 along with Fatehgarh Sahib MP, Harinder Singh Khalsa for anti-party activities. Both had questioned the lack of transparency within the party and had demanded autonomy for the state unit.
Meanwhile, Khaira said that it was unfortunate that the SAD (Taksali) had walked out of the alliance and announced their candidates in haste. He said that the PDA will announce other candidates’ names very soon. “We are watching the situation on some seats, particularly Bathinda and Sangrur. We will give a good challenge to the AAP in Sangrur,” he said. Also present at the meeting were BSP state president Rashpal Singh Raju, LIP chief Simarjit Singh Bains, Bant Singh Brar of CPI and Mangat Ram Pasla of RMPI Pasla group.
Khaira said that the alliance had been forged to “liberate” Punjab from the “clutches of corrupt” traditional parties of Congress, SAD-BJP that have “looted” the state turn wise for the past many decades.