All 13 constituencies in Punjab will go to polls in the seventh phase of elections on April 30. Some constituencies will see big names contesting like Arun Jaitley, Ambika Soni, and Vinod Khanna. Here is a look at the 10 key candidates in Punjab in these Lok Sabha elections.
Vinod Khanna – He joined the BJP in 1997 and won the Lok Sabha seat from Gurdaspur in the following year. In 2002, he was made Union Minister of Culture and Tourism. Six months later, he was given the portfolio of Minister of State for External Affairs. He has won the seat from Gurdaspur thrice: 1998, 1999 and 2004. In 2009, he lost to Congress’ Pratap Singh Bajwa by a close margin. The fight in Gurdaspur will be a close one, considering he is relying on the ‘Modi wave’ sweeping the country.
Preneet Kaur – She is currently the Union Minister of State, External Affairs. Prior to joining politics, she was a member of a number of committees like civil supplies and public distribution, empowerment of women, public undertakings etc. She is the wife of former Chief Minister of Punjab and Maharaj of Patiala, Capt Amarinder Singh. She has won the Patiala seat thrice: 1999, 2004 and 2008. She will be contesting against the Shiromani Akali Dal’s (SAD’s) Deepinder Singh Dhillon and the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP’s) Dharam Vira Gandhi.
Harsimrat Badal – The daughter-in-law of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, she won the Bathinda seat for the SAD in 2009. She is seeking re-election from here and is pitted against brother-in-law, Congress’ Manpreet Singh Badal and the AAP’s Jasraj Singh Longia. Bathinda will see an interesting fight with two members of the Badal family contesting against each other.
Capt Amarinder Singh – He was the chief minister of Punjab from 2002-2007 and president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress until 2013. He is also the titular Maharaja of Patiala. He is contesting from Amritsar against the BJP’s senior leader Arun Jaitley and the AAP’s Daljit Singh. Though the Congress lost two assembly elections under his leadership of the Punjab Congress in 2007 and 2012, he is confident of a win from here.
Manpreet Badal – He is the nephew of Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal. In 2010, he was removed as Finance Minister of Punjab from the CM Parkash Singh Badal’s government. He then formed his own party- People’s Party of Punjab. He is pitted against current MP of Bathinda and sister in law Harsimrat Badal from the SAD and AAP’s Jasraj Singh Longia.
Arun Jaitley – Leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha and former Union Minister of Law and Justice, Arun Jaitley is contesting this general election from Amritsar. He was elected as member of Rajya Sabha in 2006. He is replacing BJP’s previous candidate from Amritsar, Navjot Singh Sidhu. PM Manmohan Singh’s step brother Daljit Singh Kohli joined Narendra Modi in Amritsar to campaign for Arun Jaitley. He is pitted against the Congress’ Capt. Amarinder Singh and AAP’s Daljit Singh.
Pratap Singh Bajwa – He is currently the president of Punjab Pradesh Congress. Sitting MP from Gurdaspur, he is seeking re-election from here and is pitted against actor turned politician and BJP candidate Vinod Khanna and AAP’s Sucha Singh Chottepur.
Ambika Soni – Former minister of Information and Broadcasting, she is a member of Rajya Sabha representing Punjab. She is contesting from Anandpur Sahib replacing sitting Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bhittu. She is pitted against SAD’s Prem Singh Chandumajra and AAP’s Himmat Singh Shergill.
Sunil Jakhar – Leader of opposition of Punjab Vidhan Sabha, Jakhar is contesting from Ferozepur. He is contesting against sitting SAD MP Sher Singh Ghubaya and AAP’s Satnam Khamboj.
HS Phoolka – Senior advocate in Delhi High Court and human rights activist, Harvinder Singh Phoolka, AAP candidate is contesting this election from Ludhiana. He led the battle for the victims of the 1984 genocide and also launched the Citizens for Justice Committee in 1984. He is pitted against Ravneet Singh Bhittu, grandson of former Punjab CM Beant Singh and SAD’s Manpreet Singh Ayali.