Congress forms jumbo panels for Punjab

Sunil Jakhar. File

Sunil Jakhar. File

The Congress on January 11 formally constituted the manifesto and campaign committees for the upcoming Assembly election in Punjab .

The State is scheduled to vote in a single phase on February 14.

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While the Congress had earlier named former Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chiefs Partap Singh Bajwa and Sunil Jakhar as heads of the manifesto and campaign committees, respectively, party president Sonia Gandhi approved other names by January 11.

Facing intense factional fights, the move is seen as a fine balancing act to accommodate all groups within the State unit.

The 20-member manifesto committee has Deputy Chief Minister O.P. Soni, Surjit Singh Swaich, Amit Vij, Jaiveer Shergil, Ashok Choudhary and others.

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The 25-member panel for the party’s campaign, headed by Mr. Jakhar, includes Ravneet Singh Bittu, Amarpreet Singh Lally, Raj Kumar Verka, Vijay Inder Singla, Raja Warring and Navjot Dhaiya.

Final list

The committees have been announced before the Congress’s Central Election Committee (CEC) is expected to approve the final list of candidates later this week.

So far, the screening committee, headed by Ajay Maken and including Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and Mr. Jakhar, has had six meetings to shortlist nominees. But the process to prepare the final list of candidates has turned out to be a tricky affair.

The party has to factor in the possibility of defections and desertions; sitting legislators and leaders who don’t get ticket could switch to recently launched Punjab Lok Congress of former Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh (retd.) that has tied up with the BJP.

“More than taking on our political rivals, for our party, this election has been about dealing with the demands of different groups and egos of various leaders,” a party leader told The Hindu .

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Printable version | May 20, 2022 12:28:58 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/punjab-assembly/congress-forms-jumbo-panels-for-punjab/article38242455.ece