Days after three sitting Congress leaders switched to BJP in Punjab, the Congress screening committee on Wednesday finalised candidates for 40 out of 117 seats in Punjab, according to party sources.
The Screening Committee met at 15 GRG, which is also called Congress war room on Wednesday night with Punjab unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab in-charge Harish Chaudhary, senior party leaders like Ajay Maken, Sunil Jakhar were also present.
After the meeting, Sidhu told reporters “all is well”.
A party source said that the party leaders discussed the winnability of candidates in the upcoming elections in the state. The committee also asked for a fresh survey of winnability for a few seats.
According to sources the consensus on 40 seats was made during the meeting and rest of the seats will be discussed in the next meeting.
The list of 40 candidates finalised by the screening committee is waiting for a final approval from the Central Election Committee headed by Sonia Gandhi before it is announced to the public.
In the last three days, Congress has lost three sitting MLAs to BJP including Rana Gurmit Sodhi, Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa and Balwinder Singh Laddi.
“The screening committee chaired by Ajay Maken that met in Delhi on Wednesday also discussed poaching of Congress MLAs by the BJP, “ said the party source.
The candidates for Uttarakhand elections were also discussed in the Congress Screening Committee meeting.
Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Harish Rawat after the meeting said that the Uttarakhand Congress screening committee discussed candidates for all 70 assembly seats and the final decision on the list of candidates will be tentatively taken by January 4.
Speaking to the media, Rawat said, “It was the first meeting. More meetings will follow. Had a detailed discussion on all 70 seats, merits of candidature. A final decision will be sent to CEC possibly on January 4. The date is not confirmed though.”
The assembly elections in Uttarakhand and Punjab are due early next year.