The Punjab Congress on Thursday declared its second list of 16 candidates for the forthcoming Assembly elections, once again choosing winnability over other considerations to go with four new faces, including two youth.Six of the party’s sitting MLAs have been retained in this list, with two of them being shifted to new constituencies. The list also includes three newcomers to the Congress - Darshan Lal Mangepur and Harwinder Singh Laddi (ex-PPP), along with Nirmal Singh Nimma, a 2-time MLA from BSP. Two sitting MLAs, Joginder Singh Panjgrain and Tarlochan Singh, have not found place in this list.The two youth candidates nominated to contest these polls are Birenderjit Singh Pahra (Gurdaspur) and Daman Thind Bajwa (Sunam).Only credible and winnable candidates have been given the tickets, as with the first list, said Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh.The four sitting MLAs who have retained their seats in the second list are Amarinder Singh Raja Warring (Gidderbaha), Amrik Singh Dhillon (Samrala), Jagmohan Singh Kang (Kharar) and Karan Kaur Brar (Muktsar). Karan and Daman are the two women in this list, taking the total number of women candidates declared by the party so far to eight.The party has replaced the sitting MLA from Jaitu (SC), and Banga (SC) constituencies.
In Jaitu (SC), sitting MLA Joginder Singh Panjgrain has been dropped and replaced with Mohd Sadique. Sidique was elected from Badhaur (SC) constituency in 2012 Assembly polls. Sitting MLA from Banga (SC), Tarlochan Singh, has also been dropped and replaced by Satnam Singh, who had contested from Adampur (SC) in the last polls.The party has moved MLA Ajaib Singh Bhatti from Bucho Mandi (SC) to Mallout (SC).Other notable inclusions in the second list are Gurwinder Singh Atwal (Bholath – the constituency of SAD’s Bibi Jagir Kaur) and Chaudhary Surender Singh (Kartarpur – the seat held by Sarwan Singh Phillaur who recently left SAD to join the Congress).The party, in its second list, has dropped all those candidates who had lost the 2012 polls except Surjit Singh Dhiman, whom the party has once again fielded from Amargarh, where he was defeated last time by a mere 4406 votes.The names of these 16 candidates were finalized in New Delhi on Wednesday by the Congress Electoral Committee (CEC), which met under the leadership of party president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi.With these announcements, the Congress has declared its candidates for 77 of the total 117 Assembly constituencies in Punjab. The remaining tickets are likely to be announced over the next few days.