The 13 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidates declared on Thursday for the Punjab assembly elections are a mixed bag of turncoats, teacher-union leaders, professionals, and social workers. Most are in their thirties and forties, and many will be first-time contestants.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh and Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann announced the list in Amritsar, yet again in the absence of Punjab party convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur, who has not fully happy with the first set of 19 names . The AAP leaders claimed Chhotepur was stuck in traffic jam on his way from a rally at Baba Bakala in Amritsar district.
English teacher Baljinder Kaur (30), party’s women’s wing president, will contest from Talwandi Sabo. Her name was withheld in the first announcement, following the allegations of land grab and protests within the party.
Anu Randhawa, the other woman on the list, is daughter of former Punjab minister and late Congress leader Jasjit Singh Randhawa. She joined the AAP in March. The other Congress turncoat is Aman Arora, fielded from Sunam, who has failed to win the seat in both 2007 and 2012.
Former People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) secretary general and Manpreet Singh Badal aide Gurpreet Singh Bhatti is AAP candidate from Amloh. The former Akali leader join the AAP when Manpreet moved to the Congress early this year.
Samrala candidate Sarbans Singh Manki is also a former Akali, who resigned from Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) over the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib last year.
Ludhiana East candidate Daljeet Singh Grewal “Bhola” was with Team Insaaf of independent legislator brothers Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains. Two-time municipal councillor Bhola was accused of attempt to murder in a 2013 clash between his group and the supporters of legislators Ranjit Singh Dhillon. Bhola claims the “politically motivated charge” of attempt to murder was dropped.
Jaswinder Singh Jahangir (Attari) and Master Baldev Singh (Jaito) both head teacher unions, while teacher Baldev Singh Azad (Malout) is also a writer. Dr Ravjot Singh (Shamchaurasi Reserved) runs a private hospital and holds free medical camps.
Know the candidates
The Aam Aadmi Party announced 13 candiates for the 2017 Punjab polls in Amritsar on Thursday. Earlier on August 4, the party had delcared names for 19 seats.