BJP delays second Punjab Lok Sabha candidate list, eyes more high-profile joinings - Hindustan Times
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BJP delays second Punjab Lok Sabha candidate list, eyes more high-profile joinings

By, Chandigarh
Apr 06, 2024 08:48 AM IST

The saffron party on March 30, had declared six candidates fielding Congress turncoats Ravneet Singh Bittu from Ludhiana and Preneet Kaur from Patiala. The BJP also fielded AAP’s lone Lok Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Rinku, who joined the party on March 28, from Jalandhar.

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) second list of Punjab candidates has been delayed further, at least by a week, as the party is expecting more high-profile leaders to join it, a senior party leader said, pleading anonymity.

The BJP has decided to go solo and fight all 13 LS seats in Punjab on its own, ending speculations about the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)’s return to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
The BJP has decided to go solo and fight all 13 LS seats in Punjab on its own, ending speculations about the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)’s return to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The saffron party on March 30, had declared six candidates, fielding Congress turncoats Ravneet Singh Bittu from Ludhiana and Preneet Kaur from Patiala. The BJP also fielded AAP’s lone Lok Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Rinku, who joined the party on March 28, from Jalandhar.

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Apart from these three, the BJP fielded Dinesh Singh Babbu from Gurdaspur, Hans Raj Hans from Faridkot and India’s former ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu from the key seat of Amritsar.

The BJP has decided to go solo and fight all 13 LS seats in Punjab on its own, ending speculations about the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)’s return to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA). This set the stage for a four-cornered fight in the state. This will be the first time since 1996 that the BJP and the SAD, one of the oldest constituents of the NDA which parted ways over the 2020-21 farm law protests, will be fighting the Lok Sabha polls alone in the state.

The party is yet to decide on the candidates for the remaining seven seats in the state but, as per party insider, the consensus seems to be eluding.

“Besides the party anticipating more high-profile joining, there is growing pressure from the home-grown faces of the party in the state, who were not included in the first list. There are three turncoats, and Hans’ seat has been changed from Delhi to Punjab. Taranjit is a new joining, while Babbu is the only old face among the first list,” the above-quoted leader added.

Among the seven seats left in the state, the saffron party is trying to find strong candidates.

On April 4, the Punjab political circles were set abuzz when news emerged that Punjab IAS officer Parampal Kaur, who is the daughter-in-law of former minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Sikander Maluka, has applied for premature retirement amid speculations that she will be Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) pick for the Bathinda constituency for the Lok Sabha polls.

“There is still confusion with regard to this as Parampal and her husband Gurpreet Singh are said to be under immense pressure from the family not to join the BJP. The saffron party wants to field her as a candidate from Bathinda, where it doesn’t have a strong face to contest against sitting MP and former Union minister Harsimrat Kaur. Similarly, in Ferozepur, the party is expecting a former Congress MLA to join the party but the leader is said to be in touch with Congress and AAP as well,” the party leader added.

According to senior party leaders, the party is also facing problems in putting strong candidates from Khadoor Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib and Sangrur as well.

Besides this, the party is also under huge pressure to include homegrown leaders in the second list.

“The new list will have mixed faces as the party is also likely to include few homegrown faces as well. A lot of permutation and combination is being done at the high command level and the list is expected by next week,” a senior BJP functionary added.

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