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Punjab Assembly Elections: Pehle aap… dilemma hits SAD, Congress in 9 seats

Akali Dal was waiting for the Congress list for the remaining 12 seats to assess changing equations following any rebellion in the latter’s camp.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
December 17, 2016 12:59:02 am

Pehle aap, pehle aap (You do it first) appears to be the dilemma of SAD and Congress over declaring candidates for as many as nine Assembly constituencies in Punjab. SAD has so far announced candidates for 82 seats. According to the seat-sharing arrangement with BJP, SAD will contest 94 seats and BJP 23. Akali Dal, a party leader said, was waiting for the Congress list for the remaining 12 seats to assess changing equations following any rebellion in the latter’s camp.

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But, Congress, in its list of 61 candidates released on Thursday, announced nominees for only three of these 12 seats. The remaining nine include Amritsar South, earlier represented by Inderbir Singh Bolaria as Akali MLA who joined Congress, and Bholath, represented by Congressman Sukhpal Khaira before he joined AAP.

The other such seats are Kharar (currently represented by Jagmohan Singh Kang as Congress MLA), Malout (represented by Akali MLA Harpreet Singh), Bhucho Mandi (represented by Congressman Ajaib Singh Bhatti), Bathinda Rural (represented by SAD’s Darshan Singh Kotfatta), Mansa (represented by SAD’s Prem Mittal), Jalalabad (represented by Sukhbir Singh Badal) and Lambi (represented by CM Parkash Singh Badal).

“It is true that Akali Dal had been waiting for the announcement of Congress candidates for some seats before declaring its candidates. It does help to chalk out better strategy to finalise candidates when the opposition candidate is announced and there is some fallout in that party. But I do not think SAD would fieldi any of the turncoats, unless the leader is very big,” said a senior Akali leader.

Of the 12 seats for which SAD is yet to finalise candidates, Congress has already announced candidates for three.

These are Patiala (Capt Amarinder Singh), SAS Nagar (sitting Congress MLA Balbir Singh Sindhu is being fielded) and Barnala (where sitting MLA Kewal Singh Dhillon has been fielded).

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