New Delhi, January 25
The Congress has fielded former Chief Minister Harcharan Brar’s daughter-in-law Karan Brar from Muktsar, former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal’s son-in-law Vikram Bajwa from Sahnewal and former AAP leader Ashu Bangar from Ferozepur Rural in the second list of 23 candidates released late on Tuesday. With this, the party has declared 109 of 117 candidates so far.
Earlier, the party had fielded Bhattal from Lehragaga in Sangrur. In the nomination of her son-in-law today, an exception has been made to the party’s ‘one family, one ticket’ rule.
AAP MLA from Raikot Jagtar Singh Hissowal, who recently shifted to the Congress, has been fielded from the Jagraon SC seat.
Three sitting MLAs — Amrik Dhillon (Samrala), Nirmal Singh (Shutrana) and Satkar Kaur (Ferozepur Rural) — have been dropped. They have been replaced with Raja Gill, Darbara Singh and Bangar, respectively. Former minister Ashwani Sekhri has been fielded from Batala.
The party has retained Bhoa reserved segment MLA Joginder Pal despite strong reservations by Punjab Congress campaign committee chairman Sunil Jakhar. CM Charanjit Singh Channi was backing Pal. Sitting MLAs have been re-nominated in Khadoor Sahib (Ramanjeet Singh Sikki); Gill SC seat (Kuldeep Singh Vaid) and Fazilka (Davinder Gubaya).
An interesting entry to the Congress list is of Smit Singh, a close aide of Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu. Smit Singh has been made a candidate from Amargarh, where Congress’ sitting MLA is Surjit Dhiman. Dhiman’s son Jaswinder Dhiman has been fielded from Sunam.
In Guruharsahai, the party has fielded Vijay Kalra, a prominent arthiya leader and president of Punjab Federation of Arthiya Association. Kalra is also the vice-chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board. Sitting Guruharsahai MLA Rana Gurmit Sodhi recently joined the BJP.
On the Banga SC seat, the party has fielded Tarlochan Soondh, ignoring the claim of former Union Minister Santosh Chaudhary and her daughter. Vijay Sharma Tinku, fielded from Kharar, is a liquor contractor. Kharar is currently represented by AAP’s Kanwar Sandhu.
The Congress continued to play safe ahead of the February 20 elections, dropping only three MLAs today. It had earlier dropped four.
Among the eight pending seats are Patiala, from where former CM Capt Amarinder Singh will be contesting and Jalalabad, the traditional seat of SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, currently an MP from Ferozepur.
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