Aapna Punjab Party (APP) president Sucha Singh Chhotepur on Wednesday released his party’s first list of 15 candidates for the state assembly elections in Chandigarh. Of the 15 nominees, seven will be fielded on reserved seats.
All candidates are former members of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), many rebel ticket hopefuls. Chhotepur, former Punjab convener of the AAP, created the APP following a fall out with the AAP in August.
The list includes a mix of matriculates, post graduates lawyers, doctors. Former additional secretary, government of India, Hardip Singh Kingra, who was head of the finance committee of the AAP and who resigned from the party after he was ignored by in distribution of tickets, is the APP candidate from Faridkot.
Puneet Bhardwaj, the engineer son of former bureaucrat R R Bhardwaj, who headed the intellectual wing of the AAP but later threw his weight behind Chhotepur, will be the party’s candidate from Dera Bassi.
Two former Congressmen, who later joined the AAP and are now with the APP, are also on the list. Gurwinder Mamanke, a former general secretary of the Congress and retired chairman of the improvement trust, is the party’s candidate from Tarn Taran while Jarnail Singh Akalgarh, who remained the member of the block samiti twice, has been fielded from Nabha.
Sarwan Singh Sewak, a ‘giani’ and missionary, is the APP candidate from Dinanagar. Baljit Singh Bhatti, who fought the 2012 assembly polls as an independent, will be the APP candidate from Baba Bakala while Gurwinder Sahi, an NRI and the APP’s Kapurthala district president, has been fielded from Bholath.
Jugal Kishore, a homeopath and has been active in social work, is the party’s choice from Jalandhar (West). Ashwani Joshi, a former navy engineer, is the party’s choice from Nawanshahr, while Major Jarnail Singh, a former army officer, who has worked with the AAP for two years engaging with Dalits and social groups, will contest from Balachaur.
Manjinder Singh Romi, a postgraduate who runs a media house, will contest from Bassi Pathana, while Surinder Divedi, a medical practitioner will contest Kotkapura.
Harpal Singh, a PhD in Punjabi, who left his job as school principal to join politics, will contest from Jaitu while Jaswinder Singh Shinda a social worker graduate will contest Bathinda. Saranjit S Jogipur former chairman of the zila parishad will contest from Ghanaur.
There is no woman in the first list declared by the party. “We will give due representation to women in the next lists,” said Chhotepur addressing a press conference here. He added that the next list will be out within a fortnight. He said his party is yet to be assigned a symbol.
“This is a purely APP list and does not take into account the wishes of the parties and groups that APP is aligned with,” he said referring to Yogendra Yadav’s Swaraj India and the Punjab Front of suspended AAP MP Dr Dharamvira Gandhi. He said that the next set of lists will include joint candidates. “However if any of those supporting APP has any objection to any candidate it can be brought to our notice,” said Chhotepur.
When asked about the ongoing talks with the Navjot Singh Sidhu-led Awaaz-e Punjab, Chhotepur said Sidhu was welcome to join his party. “We have been talking to the Bains brothers and Pargat Singh and the doors of the APP are open for them,” he said.