Punjab: Not able to find candidates, PLC returns 3 seats

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Granted 37 seats to contest from, Capt Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress has now “returned” three of them to senior alliance partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), days before the state votes to elect its new government. The last date of filing nominations is Tuesday.

The PLC was not able to find candidates for Raja Sansi, Zira and Nawanshahr Assembly constituencies. It had earlier nominated Satvir Singh Pallijhikki, who had quit Congress to join PLC, from Nawanshahr. Pallijhikki, however, ditched the PLC on Sunday and returned to the Congress, which nominated him from Nawanshahr. The PLC is learnt to have asked the BJP to field its candidate from there. The BJP, late Monday, named Poonam Manik from the seat.

Incidentally, the Congress nominated Pallijhikki from Nawanshahr rejecting the claims of sitting MLA Angad Singh Saini, who is now contesting as an Independent.

The BJP has also fielded Avtar Singh Zira from Zira and Mukhwinder Singh Mahal from Raja Sansi after PLC returned the seats.

Also, sources said, BJP leader Dargesh Sharma is contesting from Kotkapura. He will be contesting on PLC’s hockey and ball symbol.

In all, the BJP that had kept 65 seats for itself in alliance with PLC and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s SAD (Sanyukt), is in fray (on its symbol) from 73 seats. While five of PLC’s candidates, including three from Ludhiana, Bathinda Urban and Kharar, are contesting election on BJP’s lotus symbol, 29 are contesting on PLC’s symbol. Dhindsa’s party is contesting 15 seats.

The PLC announced its 34th candidate at the eleventh hour Monday evening in Santokh Singh from Khadoor Sahib.

The PLC was seeking five more candidates from BJP when the seat sharing formula was being worked out.

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