On 3rd December, 2016 Saturday Congress chief of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh declared that the first candidate list for the assembly election to be held in 2017 will be released on Saturday and the remaining list will be announced on 8th December, 2016.
Singh firmly asserted that there is no alliance between his party (Congress) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) before or even after elections in future. He considered Aam Aadmi Party to be a “movement of frustration”.
There are total 117 seats for Congress in Punjab and Singh threw an open challenge to AAP leader, Arvind Kejriwal inviting him for an open debate. Singh stated that he invited Kejriwal to contest against him from whichever seat he wanted to among the 117 seats but Kejriwal did not accept the challenge.
Questions arose about Navjot Singh Siddhu, recent cricketer turned politician, would join Congress or not. Singh was quiet confident of Siddhu joining congress. Next Singh turned his attention towards the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), ruling party of Punjab and expressed his grief. He stated that Punjab needs proper planning and some long term initiative must be taken because Punjab has been brought to its knees by the Akalis.
Recently it has been reported that many leaders from Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), AAP and BJP has joined Punjab congress. Former SAD leader Atam Nagar, councillor Kamaljit Singh Karwal, AAP central executive committee member, Yamini Gomar are some of those leaders who left their parties to join Congress.
Mr. Singh is hopeful that this alliance will be a “clear majority” in the upcoming assembly election in 2017 and it will completely wipe off all other parties from the assembly elections. It is also expected that in the coming days many other members from AAP will join congress. Some BJP members who joined congress are Vice-President Anish Bector, Secretary Varun Sharma and many other municipal councillors and other BJP leaders.
The first list of candidates released by the Congress was cleared by CEC (Central Election Committee). This meeting was presided by Congress President, Sonia Gandhi. Total it had 61 candidates. 3 members have been dropped keeping in mind the “one family, one candidate” rule.
Seven new candidates have been selected based on their credibility. Also 31 sitting MLAs have been retained. On Friday the second list containing the names of 16 candidates have been released. CEC has finalised 25 candidates in the second round. Those candidates not finalized by CEC have been assured by Mr. Singh that everyone will be fitted in once Congress forms government in Punjab, till then they can support congress and campaign for its victory.
Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal’s nephew, Manpreet Singh Badal will contest from Bathinda Urban Assembly seat. Vice President, Sunil Jakhar will contest from Abohar. Former IAS officer and Moga Deputy Commissioner, Kuldeep Singh Vaid will contest from Gill reserved constituency. Youngest member to contest is the twenty five year old, Angad Saini. Punjab Congress chief, Mr. Singh will contest from Patiala.