Express News Service

CHANDIGARH:  The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab on Friday released its first list of candidates for the upcoming Assembly election in the state. All the ten contestants in the list are sitting MLAs and have been allotted the same seats which they are currently representing.

The party had won 20 seats in the last Assembly polls but its strength in the House has almost halved in the last five years. While five MLAs joined the Congress, two sitting legislators are unlikely to be given party tickets. Moreover, another MLA was disqualified and yet another one had quit politics for good.

As per the list released by Punjab AAP president Bhagwant Mann and Punjab affairs in-charge Jarnail Singh, the leader of opposition and AAP legislature party leader, Harpal Singh Cheema has been fielded again from Dirba, whereas his deputy Saravjit Kaur Manuke will contest from Jagraon.

Other candidates are Aman Arora from Sunam, Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer from Barnala, Kultar Singh Sandhwan from Kotkapura, Manjeet Bilaspur from Nihal Singh Wala, Jai Kishan Rori  from Garhshankar, Baljinder Kaur from Talwandi Sabo, Budhram from Budhlada and Kulwant Pandori from Mehal Kalan.

Two sitting MLAs — Kanwar Sandhu and Amarjeet Singh Sandoa — were not included in the list as Kanwar had been suspended from the party while Sandoa joined the Congress and later returned to the AAP. 

On Thursday Jagtar Singh Jagga Hissowal, MLA from Raikot (reserved), openly endorsed CM Charanjit Singh Channi in the Assembly.  Though Hissowal later said he won’t join the Congress but his action has left the AAP leadership red-faced. His name is also not in the list.  The party released the list after its sitting MLA Rupinder Kaur Ruby joined the Congress on Wednesday.