The Congress on Saturday released its first list of 86 candidates for next month’s Punjab Assembly elections.
Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi will contest from Chamkaur Sahib, while the party’s state unit chief, Navjot Singh Sidhu, will contest from Amritsar East constituency.
The party has fielded Deputy Chief Ministers Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa from Dera Baba Nanak and Om Prakash Soni from Amritsar Central. They already represent these seats.
Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa and singer Sidhu Moosewala will contest from the Qadian and Mansa constituencies.
Former Punjab Congress president and campaign committee chief Sunil Jakhar will not contest the Assembly polls. Instead, his nephew Sandeep Jakhar will fight from the Abohar seat.
Meanwhile, actor Sonu Sood’s sister Malvika Sood will fight from Moga. She joined the party on Monday.
Harjot Kamal, the sitting Congress MLA from Moga constituency, later joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in Chandigarh. He questioned the Congress’s choice of ignoring him and giving Malvika Sood the ticket, PTI reported.
“What are her qualifications?” he asked. “She is just Sonu Sood’s sister.”
Apart from Kamal, the party has denied tickets to three sitting MLAs, The Indian Express reported. This includes Deputy Speaker Ajaib Singh Bhatti from Malout, Nathu Ram, the Balluana (SC) MLA, and Channi’s brother Manohar Singh. The chief minister wanted his brother to be fielded from Bassi Pathana.
Saturday’s list was released after the Congress central election panel headed by party chief Sonia Gandhi cleared the names in a meeting on Thursday, PTI reported.
Punjab will vote in a single phase on February 14. The votes will be counted on March 10.