Nine candidates, including four ministers and the wife of Amritsar MP Navjot Sidhu, are set to get the BJP ticket for the assembly elections, top sources in the party told Hindustan Times.
The party’s state core committee has recommended one name each for nine constituencies.
The committee has picked BJP ministers Tikshan Sud (Hoshiarpur), Arunesh Shakir (Mukerian), Satpal Gosain (Ludhiana east) and Surjit Jiyani (Fazilka), apart from chief parliamentary secretary Sukhpal Nannu (Ferozepur), Anil Joshi (Amritsar north), Raj Khurana (Rajpura), Bhagat Chunni Lal (Jalandhar west) and Sidhu’s wife Dr Navjot Kaur from the newly-carved Amritsar (east) seat.
With Amritsar (central) MLA Laxmi Kanta Chawla deciding not to contest, the names of mayor Shwait Malik and Tarun Chug have been recommended. The list of recommendations was submitted to BJP president Nitin Gadkari by the 15-member state committee on Tuesday evening.
The party’s central parliamentary committee is expected to meet on Friday for finalising the list of candidates, which would be released by January 3, party sources said.
As the BJP has given Garhshankar and Batala seats to alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal in exchange for Ludhiana (west) and Amritsar (east), former state BJP president Prof Rajinder Bhandari is the ticket favourite from Ludhiana (west), the sources said.
The name of Raj Khurana, who was arrested in a graft case by the Central Bureau of Investigation earlier this year, was included reportedly due to the ‘winnability’ factor.
When contacted, BJP general secretary JP Nadda confirmed that the core committee had prepared the panel of candidates at a meeting on Monday and the final list was expected to be released by January 3. The last date for filing nominations is January 12.
Asked whether any sitting MLA would be replaced, Nadda did not rule out the possibility, even as he revealed that five to seven new faces would be fielded. “Winnability will be the only criterion for picking candidates by the central committee, comprising 20 national-level leaders,” Nadda claimed.
From the Jalandhar (central) constituency, the names of former minister and sitting MLA Manoranjan Kalia and mayor Rakesh Rathore have been recommended. From Jalandhar (north), sitting MLA KD Bhandari and councillor Ravi Mahindru are in the fray for the ticket, the sources said.
Rathore’s name was included by Navjot Sidhu, the sources added.