Updated: January 26, 2022 3:05:14 pm
The Congress Tuesday released its second list of 23 candidates for Punjab assembly elections, dropping three sitting MLAs, renominating four, and giving tickets to two leaders who joined it from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). Relatives of two leaders including former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu have also got party tickets.
The list comes ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s proposed visit to Punjab on Thursday when he plans to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple and sit down for a langar with party’s all 117 candidates. In the first list, the party had announced 86 candidates. Now only eight candidates remain ton be named ahead of Gandhi’s visit even as filing of nominations started Tuesday.
The three MLAs that the party has dropped include Amrik Singh Dhillon from Samrala, Satkar Kaur from Ferozepur (Rural) and Nirmal Singh Shutrana from Shutrana. Son of former minister Karam Singh Gill, Rupinder Singh Raja Gill has been nominated from Samrala, a retired government official Darbara Singh has been fielded from Shutrana, and AAP leader who switched to Congress recently, Ashu Bangar has been nominated from Ferozepur (Rural).
Another party MLA from Amargarh, Surjit Singh Dhiman, who wanted to change his constituency got his son, Jaswinder Singh Dhiman a ticket from Sunam as a part of a compromise deal. Sidhu’s nephew and confidant, Smit Singh has been fielded from Amargarh. Sidhu had been backing him strongly. Vikram Bajwa,the son-in-law of former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, has been fielded from Sahnewal.
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Bhattal too is a candidate from Lehra. During 2017 elections, Vikram Bajwa was denied ticket under one-family-one-ticket rule. This time also, the Congress has denied ticket to Cabinet Minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa’s son.
Another former MLA Ajit Inder Singh Mofar’s son Bikram Inder Singh Mofar has been nominated from Sardulgarh.
Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has had his way in case of sitting MLA Joginder Pal from Bhoa segment, who has been renominated despite strong protests by former PPCC chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar. Sitting MLA Ramanjit Singh Sikki too has been renominated from Khadoor Sahib even though his ticket was stated to be “iffy.” Sitting MLA from Gill Kuldeep Singh Vaid has been renominated even though the party wanted to shift him to Jagraon. From Jagraon, the Congress has nominated sitting AAP MLA Jagtar Singh Jagga Hissowal, who had crossed over to Congress recently during the last Assembly session saying that Channi was his Chief Minister. The party has again posed its confidence in sitting MLA from Fazilka Davinder Singh Ghubaya despite having reservations.
Sidhu has had his way in case of Ashwini Sekhri, an former MLA from Batala, who has been fielded finally. Tript Bajwa was eyeing the constituency for his son. He has been lately criticising PPCC chief for one family one ticket rule stating the emphasis should be on winnability. In Banga, former Congress MLA, who had once hurled a shoe at Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia in the Assembly, has been nominated. A former PPP-turned-AAP-turned Congress leader Dr Navjot Dahiya has been fielded from Nakodar. In Kharar, CM Channi got the ticket for his aide Vijay Sharma Tinku.
An office bearer of Arhtiya Association of Punjab, Vijay Kalra has been fielded from Guru Harsahai, a constituency that got vacated after former Cabinet Minister Rana Gurmit Sodhi joined BJP after quitting Congress. Former MLA Karan Kaur Brar, the daughter in law of former CM Harcharan Singh Brar, has been fielded from Muktsar, Ajaipal Sandhu from Kotkapura, Darshan Singh Dilwan from Jaitu, Ajaib Singh Rataul from Dirba, ex-MLA Harchand Kaur from Mehal Kalan and Deepinder Singh Dhillon from Dera Bassi.
The party has not been able to announce candidates from Khem Karan, former CM Amarinder Singh’s Patiala (Urban), Nawanshahar, Jalalabad, Attari, Bhadaur, Barnala and Ludhiana South.
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