The Congress on Thursday announced its first list of 61 candidates for the upcoming Assembly elections in Punjab, choosing to go with winnable candidates across various cross-sections, striking the right balance between youth, new faces and experience while giving adequate representation to women.The party, in its first list, has retained 31 sitting MLAs, while choosing to go with seven new faces, backed by strong credibility and winnability criteria. Five youth, six women, eight ex-MLAs and one ex-MP make up the rest of the first list.Captain Amarinder said all care had been taken to ensure winnability as the key criteria in the finalisation of the nominees. Since, however, there were several aspirants in the fray for some of the seats, those who did not make it to the final list will be accommodated once the party forms the next government in the state, he said, appealing to all Congress workers to come together to campaign for the victory of the Congress in Punjab.Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Captain Amarinder Singh will show his might from Patiala, while vice president Sunil Jakhar will contest from Abohar, from where he is the sitting MLA. Other stalwarts in the fray are Manpreet Singh Badal from Bathinda Urban and Charanjit Singh Channi from Chamkaur Sahib (SC), from where he is the sitting MLA.
Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi will fight on the Congress ticket from Guru Har Sahai. Former minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa has been nominated for the Fategarh Churian seat. The ticket for the high-profile Majithia constituency has gone to Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lalli Majthia, while Rana Gurjit Singh will contest from Kapurthala.Another prominent name in the first list is that of former Moga DC, Kuldeep Singh Vaid (IAS), who has got the ticket from Gill reserved constituency. From the Raikot reserved seat, the Congress nominee is Dr. Amar Singh, vice president of PPCC and brother of sitting MLA Gurcharan Singh Boparai. For Barnala, the party’s choice is Kewal Singh Dhillon. Of the six women in the list, four have been fielded from the reserved constituencies of Ferozepur Rural (Satkar Kaur), Mehalkalan (Harchand Kaur, sitting MLA), Budhlada (Ranjit Kaur Batti) and Dina Nagar (sitting MLA Aruna Chaudhary). The other two women in the fray are Razia Sultan (Malerkotla) and Rajinder K Bhattal, sitting MLA and former chief minister, from Lehra.At 25 years, Angad Saini, son of sitting MLA Guriqbal Kaur Babli, is the youngest nominee in the Congress first list. The party has fielded Kulbir Singh Zira, son of Congress Kisan Cell chairman Inderjit Singh Zira, from Zira.