The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday released its first list of 19 candidates out of the 117 segments for the Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections due early next year. AAP state affairs in-charge Sanjay Singh, Sangrur MP and chairman of the campaign committee, Bhagwant Mann, and AAP’s women wing chief Baljinder Kaur released the list at a press conference here. State convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur was conspicuous by his absence.
The list includes Supreme Court advocate Harvinder Singh Phoolka for Dakha segment in Ludhiana. Phoolka had unsuccessfully contested the 2014 parliamentary elections from Ludhiana on the AAP ticket but finished second to Congress’ Ravneet Singh Bittu, reducing the sitting MLA of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) from Dakha, Manpreet Singh Ayali to the third place. More significantly, from the Dakha segment alone, Phoolka got the most votes, while Ayali was second and Bittu third.
The list also includes advocate Himmat Singh Shergill from SAS Nagar (Mohali). He is the party’s state legal wing in-charge and was the AAP candidate in 2014 parliamentary polls from Anandpur Sahib, of SAS Nagar is a part. The party’s youth wing president, Harjot Singh Bains, is also a lawyer and will contest from Sahnewal near Ludhiana.
The rest of the list includes a doctor, former sportspersons, social activists, a little-known trader, a transporter and some members of the party’s youth brigade.
Kultar Singh Sandhwa, who has been running the Bhai Ghanaiya Cancer Roko Seva Society, will be the candidate from Kotkapura. Ahbaab Singh Grewal, general secretary of the party’s farmer and labour wing, is the candidate from Ludhiana (West).
Arjuna Awardee former international basketball player Sajjan Singh Cheema is the candidate from Sultanpur Lodhi, while environmentalist and medical practitioner Inderbir Singh Nijjer has been nominated from Amritsar (South). Mohan Singh Phallianwala, a former state president of the Bahujan Samaj Party and a former MP from Ferozepur, has been picked for Ferozepur (rural).
Former basketball player Gurdit Singh Sekhon, who is a social activist, will contest from Faridkot while Brig (retd) Raj Kumar, who worked for several years with the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka and was also member of the General Staff Intelligence team, will contest from Balachaur.
Samar Bir Singh Sidhu, vice- president of the party’s youth wing, will contest from Fazilka and Rajpreet Singh Randhawa, a former president of the local municipality, will contest from Ajnala. Jagdeep Singh Brar, agriculturist and member of the party’s political review committee, will contest from Muktsar.
Gurvinder Singh Shampura, a former member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), is the party’s candidate from Fatehgarh Churian while Gurpreet Singh Lapran, a small-scale trader, will contest from Payal.
The only woman candidate in the first list is 28-year-old Rupinder Kaur Ruby, who is pursuing a doctorate in law. She will contest from Bathinda (rural). Jasvir Singh Sekhon, who is the party’s zone in-charge from Sangrur, will contest from Dhuri. Amarjeet Singh, a small-scale transporter, will contest from Rupnagar while Santokh Singh Salana, a social activist and former member of the Kanshi Ram Front, has been nominated for Bassi Pathana.
Here’s the complete list:
1 Ahbaab Singh Grewal from Ludhiana (West)
2 Sajjan Singh Cheema from Sultanpur Lodhi
3 Inderbir Singh Nijjer from Amritsar (South)
4 Mohan Singh Phalianwala from Ferozepur (Rural)
5 Samarbir Singh Sidhu from Fazilka
6 Rajpreet Singh Randhawa from Ajnala
7 Jagdeep Singh Brar from Muktsar Sahib
8 Gurdit Singh Sekhon from Faridkot
9 Brig Raj Kumar from Balachaur
10 Gurvinder Singh Shampura from Fatehgarh Churian
11 Gurpreet Singh Lapran from Payal
12 Rupinder Kaur from Bathinda (Rural)
13 Jasvir Singh Sekhon (Jassi) from Dhuri
14 Amarjeet Singh from Rupnagar
15 Santokh Singh Salana from Bassi Pathana
16 HS Phoolka from Dakha
17 Kultar Singh Sandhwa from Kotkapura
18 Harjot Singh Bains from Sahnewal
19 Himmat Singh Shergill from SAS Nagar
The party intends to replicate the Delhi story in Punjab. When it contested its maiden election in the national capital in 2013, AAP had declared candidates way before the polling schedules were announced. According to a party leader, this gives the party an edge over others in terms of campaigning.
Meanwhile, protests had erupted in many parts of the state on Wednesday against the ‘finalised’ list of the candidates. Former bureaucrat Hardip Singh Kingra had quit the party as a protest against having been denied a ticket from Faridkot. 19 out of 30 ticket hopefuls in Mohali had passed a resolution against party’s legal head Himmat Singh Shergill, saying that he was “unacceptable” as candidate. Even Samar Bir Singh faced protests from a group of workers.