NEW DELHI: The Congress on Saturday released its first list of 86 candidates for the February 14 assembly elections in Punjab, fielding Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi from Chamkaur Sahib and PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu from Amritsar East.
The party has also fielded Punjab deputy chief ministers -- Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa from Dera Baba Nanak and Om Prakash Soni from Amritsar Central, the seats they already represent. Controversial Punjabi singer Sidhu Mussewala, who joined the Congress sometime ago will contest from Mansa and actor Sonu Sood's sister Malvika Sood from Moga.
Party's Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa will contest from Qadian assembly seat in Gurdaspur, which is represented by Bajwa's brother Fatehjang Singh Bajwa. The list was released after the party's central election committee chaired by party chief Sonia Gandhi cleared the names in its meeting held on Thursday.
The first list has as many as nine women candidates, representing around 10 per cent so far. The party has given 40 per cent seats to women in Uttar Pradesh, where it is going to polls with a focus on women empowerment.
The party has also adopted 'one family, one ticket' formula while distributing the party tickets. Former PCC president and campaign committee chief Sunil Jakhar will not contest the assembly polls and his nephew Sandeep Jakhar will contest the Abohar assembly seat instead.
Similarly, Punjab minister Brahm Mohindra will not contest and his son Mohit Mohindra will contest in his place from Patiala rural assembly seat. All other sitting ministers will contest from their respective constituencies they currently represent.
Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal will contest from Bathinda Urban, PWD Minister Vijay Inder Singla from Sangrur, Water Suppy and Sanitation Minister Razia Sultana from Malerkotla and Industries Minister Gurkirat Singh Kotli from Khanna.
Other ministers like Rana Gurjit Singh will recontest from his Kapurthala assembly constituency, Tript Rajinder Bajwa from Fatehgarh Churian, Randeep Singh Nabha from Amloh, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring from Gidderbaha and Pargat Singh from Jalandhar Cantt.
Besides ministers like Sangat Singh Gilzian has been fielded from his Urmar seat, Aruna Chaudhary from Dina Nanagar, Raj Kumar Verka from Amritsar West-SC, Sukhbinder Sarkaria from Rajasansi and Bharat Bhushan Ashu from Ludhiana West.
Former deputy chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has been fielded from Lehra constituency which she had lost in the last assembly polls. Rupinder Kaur 'Ruby', who had switched sides from the AAP to Congress, has been fielded by the party from Malout-Sc seat.
She was elected from Bathinda Rural in the last election on AAP ticket. Punjab Youth Congress chief Amarpreet Singh Lally has been given the party ticket from Garhshankar. Jagpal Singh Abulkhurana has been fielded from the Lambi constituency currently represented by Parkash Singh Badal.
The party is yet to declare its candidate for the Patiala Urban constituency which was represented by former chief minister Amarinder Singh. The party will also declare its remaining 31 seats for the 117 member assembly soon. Punjab assembly elections are slated in a single phase on February 14 and the results will be out on March 10.