Updated on: Saturday, January 15, 2022, 11:41 PM IST

Punjab Assembly polls: CM Charanjit Singh Channi to contest from Chamkaur Sahib, Navjot Sidhu from Amritsar East

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu and Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi | Photo Credit: ANI

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu and Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi | Photo Credit: ANI


NEW DELHI: Punjab Congress President and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu (58) will be seeking re-election from Amritsar East and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, also 58, from Chamkaur Sahib in the Assembly elections slated on February 14.

They figure in the first list of 86 candidates announced on Saturday by AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik. The Punjab Assembly has 117 seats. There is no indication so far that Channi may contest from two seats.

Pratap Singh Bajwa, 74, who is due to retire as a Rajya Sabha member in April, is seeking election for Qadian, which is currently represented by his wife.

A former Punjab minister, Bajwa defeated actor-turned four-time MP Vinod Khanna of the BJP in 2009 from the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha constituency.

Political observers in Punjab said the Congress has fielded a "very strong" team, keeping winnability in mind, making it tough for the Akali Dal and the Aam Aadmi Party (AP), the two main challengers, to unseat the Congress.

As regards the Bharatiya Janata Party, they say it is nowhere in the race. A party needs to win 59 seats in the 117-member House to have a clear majority to form the government.

As regards Captain Amarinder Singh, who was ousted by the Congress as the chief minister, observers are discounting his party, not even giving it double digit seats.

In the last Assembly elections in 2017, the Captain-led Congress had won 77 seats while the AAP had secured 20 seats, leaving the Shiromani Akali Dal, the ruling party, a poor third with just 15 seats; the BJP, which had an alliance with the Akali Dal, had shrunk to a miniscule 3 seats.

At that time, the Akali Dal had contested 94 seats and the BJP 23. While the Congress had fielded candidates in all the 117 seats, AAP had contested as many as 112.

The Assembly elections are taking place on February 14, which will also be the polling day in Goa and Uttarakhand.

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Published on: Saturday, January 15, 2022, 11:41 PM IST