Amarinder, Soni in List as Cong Banks on Top Guns to Fire in Punjab
The Congress is now banking on its senior leaders in Punjab to shore up its prospects in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, with former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh taking on Arun Jaitely of the BJP in Amrtisar, while senior Congress leader and former Union Minister Ambika Soni has been fielded from Anandpur Sahib.
And the name of Amarinder, erstwhile King of Patiala, figured in the fifth list of candidates rolled out by the Congress on Friday. It is believed that Amarinder was included in the list at the instance of Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi and the party’s vice-president Rahul Gandhi. In the 2009 LS polls, Om Parkash Soni of the Congress had lost to BJP’s Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Earlier, Amarinder had said that he was keeping all options open on contesting the Amritsar seat and would follow the high command’s orders. However, he had also gone on the record saying that owing to a variety of reasons he would not be able to do justice to the people as Amritsar MP. At the same time Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa had been maintaining that Amarinder was the ideal choice as the party candidate for Amritsar.
Meanwhile, former Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Soni will be fighting her first Lok Sabha election from Anandpur Sahib against Prem Singh Chandumajra of the Shiromani Akali Dal.
Soni has replaced sitting MP Ravneet Bittu, who is grandson of late Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, who is the sitting MP from Ludhiana, will not contest from the seat this time. And it has been rumoured in the party circles that Bittu might be fielded from Ludhiana as the Payal Assembly segment, from where the Beant family hail, falls in the Ludhiana Parliamentary seat. The other name doing the rounds of the Ludhiana seat is that of former Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla.
From the Jalandhar (Reserved) seat, names of sitting MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee and Punjab Youth Congress chief Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary are being mentioned. Vikram is the son of former Punjab minister Chaudhary Santokh Singh. For the Ferozepur seat, name of sitting MLA Rana Sodhi is doing the rounds. The party has yet to decide on Hoshiarpur and Fategarh Sahib seats also.