After several rounds of deliberations, the Congress on Saturday declared its much-awaited first list of 86 candidates for the Punjab elections. The first list of the Congress – which is facing the crisis of declaring a CM face with both incumbent CM Charanjit Singh Channi and state party president Navjot Singh Siddhu eyeing the top job – has retained several of its sitting MLAs.
The party has also stuck to the rule of ‘one family, one ticket’ as was discussed during the screening committee meetings.
Setting aside rumours of Channi contesting from two seats, the first list has the CM contesting from his home constituency Chamkaur Sahib and Sidhu contesting from Amritsar East. There were speculations that Channi would also contest from the Doaba region for a larger electoral impact in the state.
New entrants Malvika Sood, sister of Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, would be contesting from Moga and famous Punjabi rapper Sidhu Moosewala would be contesting from Mansa. There has been resistance against the two by sitting MLAs, but Congress decided to go by the winnability factor and went ahead with their names.
The Congress has retained sitting MLA Gurpreet Singh GP from Bassi Pathana, which CM Channi was seeking for his younger brother Manohar Singh. Partap Singh Bajwa whose brother Fateh Jung Bajwa recently joined the BJP will be contesting from Qadian, which is a part of the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency. Much before the names were announced, Bajwa had already started campaigning in the constituency.
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.