After several rounds of deliberations, the Congress on Saturday announced its much-awaited first list of 86 candidates for the Punjab elections. The first list of the Congress – which is facing a crisis with both incumbent CM Charanjit Singh Channi and state party president Navjot Singh Sidhu declaring the chief ministerial face – has retained many of its sitting MLAs.
The party has also stuck to the ‘one family, one ticket’ rule, as discussed during the screening committee meetings.
Putting aside rumors of Channi contesting from two seats, the Chief Minister is contesting from his home constituency Chamkaur Sahib and Sidhu from Amritsar East in the first list. There was speculation that Channi would also contest from the Doaba region for greater electoral influence in the state.
Bollywood actor Sonu Sood’s sister Malvika Sood will contest from Moga and famous Punjabi rapper Sidhu Moosewala from Mansa. Both have been opposed by sitting MLAs, but the Congress decided to go by the victory factor and go ahead with their names.
The Congress has retained the sitting MLA from Bassi Pathana, Gurpreet Singh GP, which CM Channi was seeking for his younger brother Manohar Singh. Partap Singh Bajwa, whose brother Fateh Jung Bajwa recently joined the BJP, will contest from Kadian, which is part of the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency. Bajwa had started campaigning in the constituency long before the names were announced.
Other ministers in the list are Bharat Bhushan Ashu from Ludhiana west, Aruna Chaudhury from Dina Nagar reserved segment, Tript Rajinder Bajwa from Fatehgarh Churian, deputy CM Sukhjinder Randhawa from Dera Baba Nanak, Rana Gurjeet Singh from Kapurthala, Pargat Singh from Jalandhar Cant, Manpreet Badal from Bathinda, Sangat Singh Gilzian from Urmar, Gurkirat Kotli from Khanna, former minister Balbir Sidhu from SAS Nagar, and Punjab Congress working chief Kuljit Nagra from Fatehgarh Saheb. Punjab polls are scheduled on February 14.