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Posted at: Mar 13, 2019, 7:14 AM; last updated: Mar 13, 2019, 7:14 AM (IST)

Cong reworks strategy for key seats

Preneet from Patiala constituency, Jakhar from Gurdaspur almost final

Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 12

With elections in the state scheduled in the last phase on May 19, the Congress is reworking its strategy to field candidates on four crucial seats — Sangrur, Bathinda, Ferozepur and Amritsar.

Sources privy to the discussions held at the screening committee meeting held on March 10 said preliminary discussions were held on all seats. The candidature of Preneet Kaur from Patiala and that of Sunil Jakhar from Gurdaspur was nearly clear.

Bhagwant Mann, state incharge of Aam Aadmi Party, poses tough challenge to the Congress from Sangrur where former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and former Barnala MLA Kewal Dhillon are in the race for party ticket. However, senior party leadership feels that the Sangrur seat should be given to a strong Hindu face, given the profile of the constituency.

For Bathinda seat, which could see SAD fielding someone from the Badal family if not Harsimrat Badal, the party leadership feels a strong Hindu or Jatt face would be apt. Manpreet Badal and Mohit Mohindra, son of Brahm Mohindra, are in the fray.

In the event of Harsimrat contesting from Ferozepur, the Congress would have to put up a strong face. Sitting Ferozepur MP Sher Singh Ghubaya, who recently joined Congress, is facing strong resistance from senior Hindu and backward class leaders like Hans Raj Joshan and Dr Mohinder Rinwa. Cabinet minister Rana Gurmeet Sodhi is staking claim to the seat.

“If a weak candidate is fielded from Bathinda and Ferozepur, the seat could be easily lost. Alliance with AAP is still not being ruled out despite denial by the Punjab Congress leadership,” said a senior leader.

With Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today stating that former PM Dr Manmohan Singh was never in reckoning for candidature as he had made it clear that he was not interested in contesting elections, the party may well have to again look for strong face in event of BJP putting up a strong candidate from Amritsar.

Opposed to the candidature of sitting MP Gurjit Aujla, other contenders for the seat MLA Harpartap Ajnala, his son Kanwar Partap Singh and Amritsar Mayor Karamjit Rintu are among those who had initially moved the proposal for the candidature of Dr Manmohan Singh.

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