Assembly poll wrap: SP releases list of 159 candidates; BJP announces seat-sharing formula for Punjab; and more

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With the countdown for elections having begun in five states, Monday saw a day of frenzied activities that kept the poll pot boiling. In Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party (SP) released a list of 159 candidates while BJP announced the seat-sharing formula with its allies in Punjab.

Moreover, Congress released its second list of candidates for Uttarakhand, fielding former CM  Harish Rawat from Ramnagar.

Here are the top developments of the day from the five poll-bound states:

SP names 159 candidates for UP polls

SP on Monday released a list of 159 candidates for Assembly polls. Akhilesh Yadav will contest from Karhal, Nahid Hasan from Kairana, Abdullah Azam Khan from Suar, Azam Khan from Rampur and Shivpal Singh Yadav from Jaswantnagar. SP and RLD had released a list of 29 candidates earlier.

The party also fielded jailed MP Azam Khan from the Rampur seat and his son Abdullah Azam Khan from Suar. While Rampur is currently held by Azam Khan’s wife Tanzeen Fatima, the Suar seat had fallen vacant after Abdullah was disqualified as an MLA for being less than 25 years old at the time of the last election. He was recently released on bail and has started campaigning in the constituency.

Meanwhile, Congress released a list of 30 ‘star campaigners’ for the first phase of UP polls. The list includes party chief Sonia Gandhi, ex-PM Dr Manmohan Singh, party leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel and Sachin Pilot, among others.

In other news, BJP leader and the party’s former candidate from Jalalabad, Anil Verma joined SP on Monday.

BJP announces seat-sharing formula for Punjab

Bharatiya Janata Party Monday announced the seat-sharing formula with its allies—Captain Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress 37 and Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt)—for the upcoming Punjab Assembly elections. “The BJP will contest the election on 65 seats, Punjab Lok Congress 37 seats and SAD-Sanyukt on 15 seats,” BJP president JP Nadda said during a press conference.

Meanwhile, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday accused Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of deceiving and scamming the people of Punjab by “fraudulently” claiming that he had received 21.6 lakh messages and calls in four days while taking the public’s opinion ahead of declaring the AAP’s chief ministerial candidate.

The Punjab poll scene was further heated up by allegations and counter-allegations on Monday

After Amarinder Singh claimed on Monday he had got a message from Pakistan to reinstate Navjot Singh Sidhu in his government in Punjab, the Congress said it was shameful on the former chief minister’s part to raise such issues and added it was aimed at diverting attention in the run-up to next month’s assembly polls.

Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, “He (Amarinder Singh) has been our senior leader and has had a long association with us. But the way he is talking, I feel it is shameful. He has occupied a constitutional post and was chief minister, it is wrong to speak like this…to grab headlines and remain in the news….”

Meanwhile, Sidhu and Amarinder took further potshots at each other. Amarinder ridiculed Sidhu’s claims of fighting the sand mining mafia, saying the state Congress president had himself led the rebellion against him with the MLAs who were allegedly involved in the activity. This clearly exposed “his own interest in sheltering them”. the former CM said according to a statement.

Sidhu, in turn, dubbed former CM Amarinder Singh a “spent cartridge”, responding to his claim that he had got a request from Pakistan to reinstate the ex-cricketer in his government.

Uttarakhand Congress fields Harish Rawat from Ramnagar

Congress on Monday released the second list of candidates for the Uttarakhand polls, fielding Harish Rawat from Ramnagar.

Uttarakhand Congress on Monday launched a poll campaign, “Char Dham, Char Kam”, making four promises to people of the state if it comes to power in next month’s Assembly polls. The promises included Rs 40,000 per annum to five lakh families in the state and not letting the LPG cylinder price cross Rs 500.

Launching the poll campaign in the presence of Congress campaign head Harish Rawat, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel said the four promises are being made as price rise and unemployment are at their peak while the poor are getting poorer and the rich becoming richer under the present government at the Centre.

Baghel said the present government’s policies were aimed at bringing more prosperity to industrialists at the expense of the poor and promised not to allow the LPG cylinder price to cross Rs 500 if the Congress comes to power in Uttarakhand. In view of the problem of unemployment, the state Congress has decided to pay Rs 40,000 per annum to five lakh families of the state so that they could lead a life of dignity, he said.

Apart from this, four lakh people will be given jobs and medical services will be taken to people’s doorsteps with the help of drones considering the uneven topography of the state, he added.

NPP releases first list of 20 candidates for Manipur assembly polls

The National People’s Party on Monday announced its first list of 20 candidates for Manipur assembly elections with three sitting MLAs, including Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar Singh, contesting from their seats.

The party, which is currently in alliance with the BJP, is going it alone in the upcoming polls and has fielded candidates against its ally in all the seats it is contesting.

Y Joykumar Singh will again contest from his Uripok constituency, while NPP’s Manipur unit president L Jayantakumar Singh and N Kayisii will seek re-election from  Keishamthong and Tadubi assembly segments respectively.

State Sports Minister Letpao Haokip, who had won from Chandel seat on an NPP ticket five years ago, joined the BJP in 2021.

“Three sitting MLAs are among the 20 candidates. Their names were recommended by an election management committee in Manipur and approved by Meghalaya Chief Minister and party chief Conrad K Sangma,” an NPP leader said in Shillong.

He also said, “The second list of party candidates for the Manipur polls is likely to be released soon as we are planning to contest in around 40 seats this time.”

Former Goa CM Pratapsingh Rane’s temple visit rekindles hope in Congress

Six-time former Goa Chief Minister and 11-time legislator Pratapsingh Rane on Monday took the blessings of Goddess Bhumika at a temple in his Assembly constituency of Poriem. The temple visit – which comes two days after Rane attended a meeting of the Congress’s election candidates – proved to be a sign of hope for party workers awaiting his decision on contesting the upcoming polls.

Rane, however, said there was nothing out of the ordinary in the temple visit along with his wife Vijayadevi. “It is a part of my routine. I visit the temple every week. The decision (on contesting the upcoming election) will be taken in due course,” he told The Indian Express.

(With agency inputs)

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