New Delhi: Congress today released the first list of 61 candidates who will contest the upcoming Assembly polls in Punjab. State unit chief Amarinder Singh, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, CLP leader Charanjit Singh Channi and Sunil Jakhar all feature in the first list as was expected. The party has retained 31 sitting MLAs, while dropping only three, including Preneet Kaur who makes way for her husband Amarinder Singh from the Patiala Urban Assembly seat. The Congress has also chosen seven new faces backed by "strong credibility and winnability criteria". The list includes five youths, six women, eight former MLAs and one former MP.
- Congress today announced first list of candidates for Punjab polls 2017
- State unit party chief Amarinder Singh will contest from Patiala Urban
- Congress has retained 31 sitting MLAs in its list of 61 candidates
All the names were first cleared by the Central Election Committee headed by Congress national President Sonia Gandhi.
Amarinder Singh said since there were too many aspirants, those who could not make it to the final list for the Assembly elections will be accommodated once the party forms the government in Punjab. He also appealed to all Congress workers to come together and campaign for the party's victory in Punjab.
He said winnability is key criteria for selection and the decision to choose winnable candidates across various cross-sections, striking a balance between youth, new faces and experience while giving adequate representation to women.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's estranged nephew Manpreet Singh Badal, who joined the Congress a few months ago, will contest from the Bathinda Urban Assembly seat, while former Sangrur MP Vijay Inder Singla will contest from the same assembly seat.
Party's Punjab unit Vice President Sunil Jakhar will contest from Abohar, from where he is the incumbent MLA, while former deputy chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal will contest from her Lehra Assembly constituency and CLP leader Charanjit Singh Channi from Chamkaur Sahib (SC), from where he is the sitting MLA.
Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi will fight on the Congress ticket from Guru Har Sahai, while former minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa has been nominated from the Fategarh Churian seat.
The ticket for the high-profile Majithia constituency has gone to Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lalli Majthia, while Rana Gurjit Singh will contest from Kapurthala.
Former IAS officer and former Moga Deputy Commissioner Kuldeep Singh Vaid has bagged the party ticket from the reserved constituency of Gill.
Three sitting MLAs have been changed under "one family, one candidate rule".
While Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa's wife Charanjit Kaur Bajwa has been replaced with his brother Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa in the Qadian Assembly seat, sitting Nawan Shahar MLA Gur Iqbal Kaur Babli has given way to her son Angad Saini.
Angad Saini, 25, is the youngest nominee in the Congress list.