Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, state unit president Navjot Singh Sidhu and Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa are among the candidates named in the first list by Congress for the February 14 Punjab Assembly elections.
Apart from political heavyweights, Congress has picked up new entrants like Malvika Sood, the sister of Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, and famous Punjabi rapper Sidhu Moosewala. While Malvika would be contesting from Moga, Mossewala is trying his luck from Mansa.
Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi will contest the assembly polls from the Chamkaur Sahib SC constituency, while Congress party’s state unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu is the candidate from Amritsar East.
Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa has been given the Dera Baba Nanak seat ticket. The state’s other Deputy Chief Minister, Om Prakash Soni, will fight from Amritsar (Central).
Former state unit and campaign committee chief Sunil Jakhar is not among the contesting members but, Sandeep Jakhar, his nephew, will contest from Abohar. Rajya Sabha MP Pratap Singh Bajwa will contest the assembly polls from Qadian.
Here’s a brief profile of a few candidates:
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, better known by his stage name Sidhu Moose Wala, is a Punjabi Indian singer, rapper, songwriter and actor associated with Punjabi music and Punjabi cinema.
Fielded from the Mansa seat, Moosewala has found himself as a part of several controversies. Known to flaunt weapons in his music videos – he has cases against him that accuse him of glorifying violence.
Moosewala joined the congress party last month, and the Mansa Assembly seat, is his hometown.
Moose Wala actively campaigned for his mother, Charan Kaur, who won the sarpanch election from Moosa village in December 2018.
On December 3, 2021, Sidhu joined Congress for the upcoming elections.
New entrant, Malvika Sood, sister of Bollywood actor Sonu Sood will be contesting from the Moga constituency. She joined the congress party on January 10 and was welcomed by CM Channi and Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Before entering politics, Mavika Sood has worked extensively in the social sector. She was one of the core team members of Sonu Sood’s NGO The Sood Foundation at the time of migrant crisis during the first wave. Malvika, who was praised for her work with medical and municipal authorities, was a frontline worker during the Covid-19 pandemic in Moga, Ludhiana.
She and her husband run an English coaching centre in Moga.
Charanjit Singh Channi
Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, 58, is an MLA from the Chamkaur Sahib assembly constituency. He will defend his current segment Chamkaur Sahib and has been named only from one seat amid discussions on fielding from two seats. Belonging from the Dalit community, which makes up for almost 1/3rd of the state’s population, he has been a municipal councillor for three terms. He was elected to the Punjab Vidhan Sabha from Chamkaur Sahib Consistency for the first time in 2007. He was re-elected in 2012 and then again in 2017. He was also appointed as the Cabinet Minister for Technical Education and Industrial Training, Employment Generation and also Science and Technology in the government of Punjab in the year 2017.
In September 2021, he succeeded Captain Amarinder Singh as Chief Minister of Punjab after the latter’s resignation. He is the first Dalit Sikh Chief Minister of Punjab.
Channi was born in Bhajauli, Tehsil Kharar, Punjab. He studied law at Panjab University and has an MBA from PTU Jalandhar. He is currently pursuing PhD from Panjab University Chandigarh.
He is married to Kamaljit Kaur and has two children
Navjot Singh Sidhu
Navjot Singh Sidhu is the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Former international cricketer and a television personality, Navjot Singh Sidhu joined politics in 2004 when he contested from Amritsar in Punjab on a BJP ticket. He won the election and held the seat till 2014 winning also the next election. In 2017, he joined the Indian National Congress and was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly from Amritsar East.
Hailing from Patiala, Sidhu became an international cricketer in the 1980s and quit in 1999.
Sidhu has also been both an English and Hindi Cricket commentator He became popular for his unique style of commentary. A very popular campaigner, he is now one of the star campaigners for the Congress party.
The Punjab Congress had gone through a leadership crisis last year after an open rebellion by party leaders, including Navjot Singh Sidhu, had ended in the removal of Captain Amarinder Singh from the post of the chief minister.
On 18 July 2021, Sidhu was appointed as President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee replacing Shri Sunil Jakhar.
On 28 September 2021, Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned as Punjab Congress President. He sent his resignation letter to the party chief Sonia Gandhi. But the high command rejected his resignation
Pratap Singh Bajwa
Partap Singh Bajwa has served as a member of the Lok Sabha representing Gurdaspur in Punjab from 2009 to 2014. He was earlier a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Punjab.
He is the son of Satnam Singh Bajwa who was a three-time Member of Legislative Assembly Punjab and Minister in the government of Punjab.
Bajwa completed his schooling at Punjab Public School, Nabha. He started his career in politics as a student leader in 1976 became President of Youth Congress in 1982 and rose to the President of State Congress. He has served as a minister under chief ministers Beant Singh, Rajinder Kaur Bhathal, and Amarinder Singh. Partap Singh Bajwa is Rajya Sabha member since 10 April 2016
Bajwa happens to be a staunch sport lover and he has also served as the President of the Judo Federation of Punjab.
Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa is the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab. He is also the Member of Punjab Legislative Assembly and represents Dera Baba Nanak.
Randhawa first successfully contested for Punjab Legislative Assembly from Fatehgarh Churian in 2002 defeating Akali dal’s Nirmal Singh Kahlon. In 2012, he was elected from new constituency Dera Baba Nanak.
His father’s name is Santokh Singh who served as Punjab Congress chief twice and was one of the most senior Congress leaders in his time. Sukhjinder completed his Matric education from Government school Chandigarh in 1975.
The election in Punjab will be held in a single phase on February 14. The counting of votes will take place on March 10 and results will be declared simultaneously.