The Congress on Saturday released its first list of 86 candidates for the February 14 Assembly elections in Punjab, fielding Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi from Chamkaur Sahib and PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu from Amritsar East.
The party has also fielded Punjab Deputy Chief Ministers -- Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa from Dera Baba Nanak and Om Prakash Soni from Amritsar Central, the seats they already represent.
The party has denied tickets to four sitting legislators, including the one who returned to the party six days after joining the BJP. They are Harjot Kamal from Moga, Balwinder Singh Laddi from Sri Hargobindpur Sahib, Nathu Ram from Balluana and Deputy Speaker of Punjab Assembly Ajaib Singh Bhatti from Malout.
Laddi had quit the Congress and joined the BJP along with MLA Fatehjang Bajwa on December 28, but six days later, he returned to the Congress fold.
The list was released after the party's central election committee chaired by party chief Sonia Gandhi cleared the names in its meeting held on Thursday. The first list has nine women candidates, with around 10 per cent representation, so far. The party has given 40 per cent seats to women in Uttar Pradesh, where it is going to polls with a focus on women empowerment.
The Congress has also adopted 'one family, one ticket' formula while distributing tickets.
Controversial Punjabi singer Sidhu Mussewala, who joined the Congress sometime ago, will contest from Mansa and actor Sonu Sood's sister Malvika Sood from Moga, replacing Harjot Kamal, who soon joined the BJP.
Mussewala replaces sitting MLA Nazar Singh Manshahia, who had joined the grand old party after quitting the AAP in 2019.
Party's Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa will contest from Qadian Assembly seat in Gurdaspur, which is represented by his brother Fatehjang Singh Bajwa.
Former Punjab Congress Committee president and campaign committee chief Sunil Jakhar will not contest the polls but his nephew Sandeep Jakhar will contest from the Abohar Assembly seat instead.
Similarly, Punjab minister Brahm Mohindra will not contest but his son Mohit Mohindra has been fielded from Patiala Rural Assembly seat. All other sitting ministers will contest from their respective constituencies they currently represent.
Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal will contest from Bathinda Urban, PWD Minister Vijay Inder Singla from Sangrur, Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Razia Sultana from Malerkotla and Industries Minister Gurkirat Singh Kotli from Khanna.
Other ministers such as Rana Gurjit Singh will recontest from his Kapurthala Assembly constituency, Tript Rajinder Bajwa from Fatehgarh Churian, Randeep Singh Nabha from Amloh, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring from Gidderbaha and Pargat Singh from Jalandhar Cantt.
Besides ministers such as Sangat Singh Gilzian has been fielded from his Urmar seat, Aruna Chaudhary from Dina Nanagar, Raj Kumar Verka from Amritsar West-SC, Sukhbinder Sarkaria from Rajasansi and Bharat Bhushan Ashu from Ludhiana West.
Former deputy chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal has been fielded from Lehra constituency which she had lost in the previous Assembly polls.
Rupinder Kaur 'Ruby', who had switched sides from the AAP to Congress, has been fielded by the party from Malout-SC seat. She was elected from Bathinda Rural in the last election on AAP ticket.
Former Punjab Youth Congress chief Amarpreet Singh Lally has been given the party ticket from Garhshankar.
Jagpal Singh Abulkhurana has been fielded from the Lambi constituency currently represented by Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal.
The party is yet to declare its candidate for the Patiala Urban constituency which was represented by former chief minister Amarinder Singh. The party will also declare its remaining 31 seats for the 117-member Assembly soon.
Two turncoats — Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Rupinder Singh Ruby — have been fielded from Bholath and Malout seats, respectively.
Khaira, who had quit the AAP in 2019 and later floated his own party, had rejoined the Congress in June last year. In 2015, he had quit the Congress and switched over to the AAP.
The Bholath seat is vacant after Khaira's resignation as an AAP MLA was accepted in October last year.
Former minister Raghunath Sahai Puri's son Naresh Puri has been fielded from Sujanpur.
The Congress fielded sitting legislator Gurpreet Singh GP from Bassi Pathana seat.
Chief minister Channi's brother Manohar Singh, who had resigned as senior medical officer from Kharar civil hospital, was eyeing to contest from Bassi Pathana.
The Congress also gave tickets to Balbir Singh Sidhu, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Sunder Sham Arora and Gurpreet Singh Kangar, who were dropped from the ministries after Channi took over from Amarinder Singh as the chief minister last year.
Punjab Assembly elections are slated in a single phase on February 14 and the results will be out on March 10.