Punjab polls: Cong list full of leaders' relatives
Former chief minister Amarinder Singh and his son Raninder Singh are among 114 Congress candidates.
New Delhi: Former chief minister Amarinder Singh and his son Raninder Singh are among 114 Congress candidates whose names were released on Friday for the Punjab Assembly polls, with the party fielding the kin of many top leaders from the state.
The Congress list includes former deputy chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and her son-in-law Vikram Singh Bajwa.
PCC chief Amarinder Singh will contest from Patiala urban seat and Bhattal from Lehra seat, Raninder will contest from Samana and Bhattal's son-in-law Vikram is the party candidate from Sahnewal.
Despite a demand from within the party for not granting tickets to close relatives of senior leaders, the list also includes the kin of atleast four Congress MPs from the state.
While Charanjeet Kaur Bajwa, wife of Gurdaspur MP Pratap Singh Bajwa, will contest from Qadian assembly constituency, Suman Kaypee, wife of Jalandhar MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee, is the party candidate from Jalandhar West (SC) constituency, Ram Lubhaya, husband of Hoshiarpur MP Santosh Chowdhary, will contest from Sham Chaurasi (SC) seat and Gurkirat Singh Kotli, brother of Anandpur Sahib MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, is contesting from Khanna constituency.
The Congress party, which is trying to regain power in the state from the Akali-BJP combine, has relied on the old guard with a majority of its sitting MLAs finding a place in the party list with some adjustments after delimitation.
Only five sitting MLAs were denied party ticket, while the kin of atleast three sitting MLAs have been fielded.
The Congress list for elections to the 117-member assembly also has atleast 24 new faces. The remaining ones are either former MLAs or those who lost the last elections.
Among the party MLAs who were not granted the ticket this time are Gurdip Singh Bhaini from Jagraon, Hamohinder Singh Pardhan from Raikot, Kuldeep Singh Bhattal from Dhanaula, Sher Singh Gaggowal from Mansa and Tej Parkash Singh (son of former chief minister Beant Singh) from Payal seat.
While Tej Parkash Singh's confidante Lakhvir Singh Lakha has been given the Payal (Reserve) ticket, his son Gurkirat has been granted the ticket from Khanna.
Prominent among those who were denied party ticket included PS Bhinder, the husband of former Union Minister and Rajya Sabha member Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder, besides Gurdaspur MP Pratap Singh Bajwa's brother Fateh Jung Bajwa, who unsuccessfully contested the last assembly polls from Kahnuwan.
Former Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjeet Singh has been given the party ticket in place of his wife and sitting MLA Rana Rajbans Kaur, Karan Kaur Brar has been adjusted against her husband and sitting MLA Kanwarjit Singh Brar (son of former state chief minister Harcharan Singh Brar) from Muktsar constituency.
Harbans Kaur Dullo, wife of former Pradesh Congress chief Shamsher Singh Dullo, has been granted the party ticket from Bassi Pathanan (SC) seat. Dullo himself has been denied ticket as he was asking for the Khanna seat after its de-reservation.
Two of the former Akali leaders who defected from the newly-formed Punjab People's Party led by Manpreet Badal have also managed to find a place in the Congress list. These are Jagbir Singh Brar from Jalandhar Cantt and SGPC member Kaka Surjit Singh Lohgarh from Dharamkot, while the third Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon did not get his ticket from Faridkot.
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