CHANDIGARH, Punjab—In its first list of candidates released earlier today, August 4, the Aam Aadmi Party (Punjab) has included several new names, along with prominent Sikh faces.
Out of the 19, Gurvinder Singh Shampura has been announced as candidate from Fatehgarh Churian. Shampura remained SGPC member for 16 years. Shampura had contested 2006 SGPC elections against Avtar Singh Makkar and lost by a margin of 106 votes. He was expelled from Akali Dal in November 2006 by Parkash Badal for violating party discipline.HS Phoolka’s name has not come as a surprise to anyone. He contested elections in 2014 and came very close to his opponent Ravneet Bittu. He will now contest MLA elections from Dakha, likely against Akali loyalist Manpreet Ayali.
Harjot Singh Bains is another prominent Sikh name. Bains is President of AAP Youth Wing-Punjab, he will contest from Sahnewal. Bains was in the limelight in May 2016 when along with several thousand AAP activists initiated a protest outside Punjab Chief Minister’s house in Chandigarh. He was brutally targeted by the police.
Himmat Singh Shergill will contest from Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar (Mohali). He is a prominent Sikh activist who has done a lot of work for Sikh farmers in Gujarat. Kultar Singh Sandhwa is also a well-respected personality from Kotkapura. He is known for his welfare to cancer patients as member of the Bhai Ghaniya Cancer Roko Seva sanstha.
Other candidates included Santokh Singh Salana from Bassi Pathana, Amarjeet Singh from Ropar, Jasvir Singh Sekhon from Dhuri, Gurpreet Singh Lapran from Payal, Gurdit Singh Sekhon from Faridkot, Samarbir Singh Sidhu from Fazilka, Inderbir Singh Nijjer from Amritsar Sahib (South), Sajjan Singh Cheema, former Capt. Indian Basketball Team from Sultanpur Lodhi, Jagdeep Singh Brar from Sri Muktsar Sahib.
Meanwhile, Vijay Sampla (Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment in India) has alleged that AAP’s national convener Arvind Kejriwal was selling tickets for upcoming assembly polls in Punjab. He has made the claim in the magazine ‘Kamal Suneha’, which is official magazine of Punjab unit of BJP. In its editorial, Vijay Sampla has raised allegations on AAP for receiving large ransoms for granting tickets. However, majority of names revealed today are of common Punjabis. These allegations do not hold true if one goes through the list. However, it is noteworthy here that similar allegations were also levelled by Health Minister of Punjab, Surjit Kumar Jyani in a function at Fazilka where about two dozen AAP activists had joined BJPin June.