Five former Akalis, including a sitting MLA, a son of a SAD MP, both denied tickets by the ruling party, are among 23 candidates figure in the third list of Congress announced on Thursday. Rajwinder Kaur Bhagike, a sitting SAD MLA, is Congress candidate from Nihalsinghwala. Davinder Singh Ghubaya, son of sitting SAD MP Sher Singh Ghubaya, has been nominated by the Congress to contest from Fazilka amidst protests by party’s own strong contender Dr Mohinder Singh Rinwa, who is likely to contest as an Independent.
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In the much-awaited third list, which took up the total number of Congress candidates announced so far to 100 out of 117, the party did not nominate former jails minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur, who quit SAD after he was denied ticket. Despite pushing for a ticket for him from Phillaur, Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh was not able to help him.
Rakesh Pandey, five-time MLA from Ludhiana North, has been renominated. His ticket was in doubt as his survey reports were not stated to be good.
Congress’s senior vice-president Lal Singh’s son Rajinder Singh has been nominated from Samana. He beat former Information Commissioner Harinderpal Singh Harry Mann who quit his job to join Congress and was a strong contender for the ticket. Kamaljit Singh Karwal, another former SAD leader and once an aide of Lok Insaaf Party chief Simarjit Singh Bains, an ally of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is the Congress choice to take on Bains in Atam Nagar constituency. Another ex-Akali leader in the Congress list is Pritam Singh Kotbhai from Bhucho Mandi.
Ex-MLA and SC leader Joginder Singh Mann would contest from Phagwara (SC), sand merchant Joginder Pal Singh from Bhoa while Amit Vij, son of district Congress president of Pathankot Anil Vij, has been fielded from Pathankot. Both Singh and Vij are supporters of former Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa.
Karmjit Kaur Chaudhary, wife of Jalandhar MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary, is the party nominee from Phillaur (SC). She was nominated after the party decided to deny ticket to Phillaur.
Harpartap Singh Ajnala, who unsuccessfully contested from Ajnala in 2012 and lost by a margin of 1,235 votes, is against party’s choice from the segment. Santokh Singh Bhalaipur is party nominee from Baba Bakala (SC). Former MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee is party candidate from Adampur (SC). Tejinder Bittu, former Jalandhar Improvement Trust chairman (Jalandhar North) and former MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee (Adampur) are among the other prominent names in the list.
Deepinder Singh Dhillon, who contested 2012 election on SAD ticket, has been chosen to contest from Dera Bassi. From Dasayu, Congress has picked Arun Dogra, son of former Punjab minister Ramesh Chander Dogra. From Sham Churasi (SC), Pawan Adiya has got the ticket. Former national executive member of AAP, Yamini Gomar, who joined Congress after quitting AAP, has failed to get a ticket.
From Dakha, the ticket has been given to Major Singh Bhaini. Ex-minister Malkit Singh Dakha was denied the ticket. Dr Harjot Kamal has secured the ticket from Moga where Darshan Singh Brar and Dr Malti Thapar were two strong contenders.
Nathu Ram is party’s choice from Balluana (SC). He had contested on party ticket from Malout last time but lost. Bhai Harnirpal Singh Kukoo would contest from Kotkapura. Harminder Singh Jassi, a relative of Dera Sacha Sauda chief, has been fielded from Maur.
The third list has two women candidates, taking the total number of women to 10. Expressing satisfaction at the candidate selection, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh said named for the remaining 17 seats would also be declared soon.