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LS polls: 3 turncoats and former diplomat in BJP's first list for Punjab

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NewsDrum Desk
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Chandigarh, Mar 30 (PTI) The BJP on Saturday released its first list of six candidates for Punjab, fielding three turncoats Preneet Kaur, Sushil Kumar Rinku and Ravneet Singh Bittu, and former diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu.

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Besides, the saffron party also fielded singer and MP from North West Delhi Hans Raj Hans and former MLA Dinesh Singh Babbu.

According to the list, Preneet Kaur, who is a suspended Congress MP from Patiala, has been named as candidate from the same seat. Four-time MP and former Union minister Kaur joined the BJP this month.

Kaur was suspended by the Congress in February last year soon after her husband, former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, joined the BJP.

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Kaur will be facing AAP candidate Dr Balbir Singh from Patiala seat. The Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal are yet to announce their candidates from Patiala.

As expected the BJP fielded sitting AAP's lone MP Sushil Kumar Rinku from Jalandhar seat, four days after he joined the saffron party in Delhi.

Rinku had been named the candidate by the AAP but he quit the Arvind Kejriwal-led outfit in less than a year after joining it.

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Former Congress MLA Rinku had joined the AAP on April 5 last year in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann in Jalandhar.

Rinku was fielded from the Jalandhar Lok Sabha seat in the by-election and won it after defeating Congress candidate Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary by a margin of 58,691 votes.

The BJP fielded three-time MP Ravneet Singh Bittu from Ludhiana seat. Bittu was the third Congress leader who jumped ship after former MLAs Gurpreet Singh GP and Raj Kumar Chabbewal left the Congress to switch sides in less than three weeks.

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Bittu joined the BJP on Tuesday in Delhi and had said people have made up their mind to elect Prime Minister Narendra Modi to power again.

He had remained an MP twice from Ludhiana and once from Anandpur Sahib.

Bittu is the grandson of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, who was assassinated in a terror attack in 1995.

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From Amritsar, the BJP placed its bet on former Indian Ambassador to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu.

The 61-year-old former diplomat is the grandson of Teja Singh Samundri, who was one of the founding members of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee and who played an important role in the gurdwara reform movement.

Sandhu's father Bishan Singh Samundari was the principal of Khalsa College, Amritsar, and the first Vice Chancellor of the Guru Nanak Dev University.

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At present, Congress leader Gurjeet Singh Aujla is the MP from Amritsar.

The ruling party is especially keen in winning back Amritsar, a seat it has not won since Navjot Singh Sidhu bagged it last in 2009. Sidhu is now in the Congress.

BJP's Arun Jaitley and Hardeep Singh Puri, currently a Union minister, lost in the polls from there in 2014 and 2019 respectively.

The AAP has fielded Cabinet Minister Kuldeep Singh Dhaliwal from Amritsar.

From Faridkot seat, the BJP named singer Hans Raj Hans, who is the MP from North West Delhi.

The AAP has already fielded Punjabi actor and singer Karamjit Anmol from Faridkot which is a reserved seat. Currently, the Faridkot seat is represented by Congress MP Mohammad Sadique.

From Gurdaspur seat, the BJP has named Dinesh Singh Babbu who had remained a three-time MLA from Sujanpur in Pathankot.

For the Gurdaspur seat, the names of late actor and MP Vinod Khanna's wife Kavita Khanna, former Punjab BJP chief and MLA Ashwani Sharma, and BJP leader and former Congress MLA Gateh Jung Bajwa were doing the rounds.

Currently, actor Sunny Deol is the MP from Gurdaspur. The rival parties had been attacking the BJP for his "absence" from the constituency. PTI CHS VSD AS AS

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