Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi will contest from

Punjab elections: Voting for the new government will be held in the state on February 14 (File)

Chandigarh: The Congress has released its first list of 86 candidates for the Punjab Assembly elections to be held next month.

Chief Minister Charanjit Channi will contest from his seat of Chamkaur Sahib, while the party’s state unit chief Navjot Sidhu will be fielded from his Amritsar (East) constituency.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa has been given ticket from Dera Baba Nanak seat. Another deputy chief minister of the state, Om Prakash Soni, will contest from Amritsar (Central).

Both Navjot Sidhu and Chief Minister Channi will try to defend the seats they won in 2017.

Former state unit and campaign committee president Sunil Jakhar will not contest the election, but his nephew Sandeep Jakhar will contest from the Abohar assembly seat.

Actor-activist Sonu Sood’s sister Malvika, who joined the Congress on Tuesday and was hailed as a “game-changer” by Sidhu, has been given the Moga ticket.

Harjot Kamal, who lost to Sood in the race for that seat, is likely to join the BJP in anger.

Controversial Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala, who joined the party last month, will be fielded from the Mansa assembly seat, which is his hometown.

Musewala, known for featuring guns in his music videos, faces several cases, accusing him of glorifying violence. His joining the party raised eyebrows and raised tough questions for Navjot Sidhu, which he had avoided at the time.

Among the other seats announced, the Congress has retained Gurpreet Singh for the Bassi Pathana assembly constituency, which the chief minister wanted for his brother.

Minister Brahm Mohindra’s son Mohit will contest from Patiala (Rural) seat and Congress Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa will contest from Qadian seat of Gurdaspur.

Rupinder Kaur, who broke away from AAP last year, got ticket from Malout seat.

The party has dropped MLA Balwinder Singh Laddi, who resigned to join the BJP last month but then returned to the Congress six days later. Mr Laddi is the MLA from Sri Hargobindpur (a reserved seat), whose ticket has now been given to Mandeep Singh Rangar Nangal.

The Enforcement Directorate has given a Bholath ticket to Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who was arrested in November in a money laundering case related to drug smuggling.

Voting for 117 seats in Punjab will be held in a single phase on February 14.

The results will be declared on March 10.

The ruling Congress is fighting to retain power in one of the very few states, which is expected to face strong challenges from the BJP and the AAP, which has already released nine lists of candidates.

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