Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 2The Congress has fielded all its four sitting MPs in Punjab, besides re-nominating former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal from Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat.The party’s central election committee decided on the names of all four sitting MPs — state party chief Sunil Jakhar from Gurdaspur, Ravneet Singh Bittu from Ludhiana, Choudhry Santokh Singh from Jalandhar and Gurjit Singh Aujla from Amritsar.
The committee, chaired by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, also approved the candidature of Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh’s wife and ex-MP Preneet Kaur from Patiala and sitting MLA Raj Kumar Chhabewal from Hoshiarpur reserved seat. There were three applicants in Chandigarh — Bansal, former minister Manish Tewari and Navjot Kaur, wife of Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. Bansal was a favourite to represent Chandigarh with the Congress scouting for a seat for Tewari, who had opted out of the 2014 LS race on health grounds.The Congress panel withheld decisions on the remaining seven seats of Punjab. It’s learnt that Tewari is among the frontrunners from Anandpur Sahib, where state Youth Congress chief Amarpreet Lally is also trying hard. Tewari’s candidature is being backed by Amarinder Singh.
The screening panel has been asked to discuss the pending seats again to reach a consensus on potential nominees, including in Khadoor Sahib, Sangrur and Fatehgarh Sahib. As for Bathinda and Ferozepur, the Congress will declare candidates only when the Akali Dal opens its cards.Meanwhile, state Finance Minister Manpreet Badal told the party today he does not want to fight. Badal told The Tribune: “I do not want to contest and I have communicated this to the party. If they ask me, it’s another matter, but I don’t want to fight.”In Khadoor Sahib, ex-legislator JS Dimpa is the frontrunner.