The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has released three lists of candidates so far, but it is yet to announce the nominee who will take on Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh from the Patiala-1 assembly constituency. In the past, the party has often declared the candidate from this seat in the first list itself.
Though the Kohli family — former Akali minister Surjit Singh Kohli and his son, mayor Ajitpal Singh Kohli — are the frontrunners for the SAD ticket, the party is exploring the option of fielding a member of the Patiala royal family or a rebel Congressman, it is learnt.
Speculation is rife that the SAD may field Bibi Amarjit Kaur against her nephew Amarinder. Amarjit Kaur, a two-time Congress MP in the Rajya Sabha, had joined the SAD in 1997.
Another contender is former mayor Vishnu Sharma, who is no longer in the good books of the royal family. Though Sharma ruled out the possibility of contesting against Amarinder — who had removed his name from the list of PPCC delegates — sources said SAD general secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra was in touch with the former mayor.
Party secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa said the parliamentary board would finalise the candidate at its next meeting.
"Surjit Singh Kohli, Ajitpal Singh Kohli, Improvement Trust chairman Indermohan Bajaj and Bibi Amarjit Kaur are the probables," he said.
Surjit Singh had lost to the former CM in the 2007 elections.