With all eyes on the upcoming Assembly Elections in Punjab, Congress is all set to announce Capt Amaninder Singh as its chief ministerial candidate for the state. Singh, who is also a former chief minister of Punjab has recently declared that this will be his last election and will take on current chief minister Parkash Singh Badal from Lambi. In a conversation with The Indian Express, Singh has said that barring any last minute change of plan, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi will declare his name as the chief ministerial candidate when he comes to Punjab to campaign in the next few days.
As per source, many senior leaders of the party including Singh, former state unit president Partap Singh Bajwa and Navjot Singh Sidhu, who joined the party recently and is contesting from Punjab, have already been sounded out.
As per a senior leader, this move will consolidate votes for the Congress as it will end all speculation on who will be the CM if the Congress comes to power. Even in 2012, Rahul Gandhi had announced Amarinder’s contendership as the chief ministerial candidate at a rally in Tarn Taran district on January 25. However, Congress along with Singh lost the elections and many leaders were of the opinion that the announcement was made too late and hadn’t reached all voters.
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Many Congress leaders believe that Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party has gained a massive traction in the state and will give them a tough fight. The is one big reason why party high command is ready to project Singh as its CM candidate in the state. Singh has resigned from his Lok Sabha constituency Amritsar to participate in the assembly elections. He will be contesting from two seats Patiala and Lambi, where he is locked in a triangular combat with AAP candidate and former Delhi MLA Jarnail Singh and current Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Though Congress does not announce the name of its chief ministerial candidate in advance, but it made a departure in 2012 and this year when the party hinted that former Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit will be its chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming Assembly Elections in Uttar Pradesh.
Dikshit’s announcement led to the demand from its state leaders and prospective candidates to announce Singh’s name too. They believe that since the entire campaigning in Punjab is centered around Singh, it will be beneficial for the party of his being the CM face is announced in advance.