Chandigarh: Supreme Court lawyer H.S. Phoolka, AAP legal cell chief Himmat Singh Shergill and former basketball player Sajjan Singh Cheema were among the 19 candidates announced by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday for the Punjab assembly elections. The AAP has become the first major political party in Punjab to announce its candidates. Elections to the 117-member Punjab assembly are likely to be held in February next year.
The AAP, which has emerged as a major political challenger to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance and the opposition Congress, is all set to make the contest on all seats triangular. Phoolka, who lost the Lok Sabha election of 2014 from Ludhiana, will contest from Dakha constituency in Ludhiana district. He has been fighting for long for the rights of the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
The list of candidates announced on Thursday includes lawyers, activists, sportsmen, businessmen, ex-Army officer, a doctor and an engineer. The AAP named Shergill for the Mohali assembly seat, adjoining state capital Chandigarh. This led to the resignation by AAP leader H.S. Kingra from the party.
The list did not include the name of AAP Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur. A private news channel owned by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and his family announced Chhotepur had quit the AAP. Chhotepur immediately called it “a FAKE News”. The AAP Punjab in-charge Sanjay Singh had earlier said that the first list of AAP candidates would be released by May-end or early June. But due to pressure from aspirants, this was was deferred twice.
Among the other candidates are Harjot Singh Bains (Sahnewal), Goving Singh Shampura (Fatehgarh Churian), ex-Brigadier Raj Kumar (Balachur) and former MP Mohan Singh Phalianwala (Ferozepur Rural). The AAP’s entry has made the Punjab elections a three-way affair for the first time. –IANS js/mr
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