Chandigarh:Punjab is now scheduled to go for Vidhan Sabha polls on February 4. While the seasoned ones can claim to be not much affected, it has come as a grave scare for a long list of candidates who are going to contest for the first time as they are not yet completely aware of the issues pertaining to their constituencies and the whole campaign period left from now is less than a month.
Further, none of the political parties in the state has yet declared its complete list of candidates and the Election Commission has declared the nomination filing schedule starting from January 11 and concluding on January 18. Immediately after the Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi concluded his media briefing in New Delhi on Wednesday, it created much disturbance primarily in the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) houses.
The Congress, till date, has released the list of 77 candidates and now it is juggling hard to finalise the names for remaining 40 seats. The party is in a Catch-22 situation on a majority of the remaining seats as the rebel factor is haunting the selection committee to make the list public.
The reason behind the scare is simple: The party has already lost the chance to form the government in 2012 for not being able to tackle the rebel factor, which was also admitted by the AICC chief Sonia Gandhi post polls. According to sources in the Congress, the party may take another four days in declaring the list as the AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi is out of station and the things can’t move ahead without his consent.
The condition of BJP is no better than the Congress. The saffron party has to contest 23 seats of its quota in alliance with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) but it is yet to wake up to deal with the situation. The state unit of the party, as learnt, has not yet completed its basic selection formalities and once it is done the list will go to the national body for the approval purpose.
The delay in announcing candidates is not only fuelling factionalism within the parties but is also dimming the winning prospects of the Congress and BJP ticket contenders as the SAD and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have already declared the majority of their candidates, who have started their campaigning in their own fashion.
If the SAD has fielded 89 candidates of the total 94 seats in its quota, the AAP has declared 114 candidates including five allotted to its alliance partner Lok Insaf party. Notably, among the remaining five seats of the Shiromani Akali Dal, three are expected to see the high volatile contests-Patiala, Lambi and Jalalabad.
Last date of filing nominations:
Date of polling: February 4
Results: March 11