Chandigarh, Aug 4: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday, Aug 4 released the first list for 19 candidates for 2017 Punjab assembly elections.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer H S Poolkha and AAP legal cell chief Himmat Singh Shergill found place in AAP's first list of candidates for Punjab Assembly polls.
Poolkha, who had unsuccessfully contested Lok Sabha polls from Ludhiana on an AAP ticket, is one of the main legal brains in the party. He will contest from Dakha constituency.
The senior lawyer has led a campaign to get justice for 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims and could be a strong contender for being projected as the party's chief ministerial face.
Shergill had also unsuccessfully contested on AAP ticket from Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha constituency.This time he will contest from Mohali constituency.
The candidates are a mix of lawyers, activists, a former MP, sportsmen, an ex-serviceman, a doctor, an engineer and traders.
Among the other candidates are former basketball player Sajjan Singh Cheema, Harjot Singh Bains (Sahnewal), Goving Singh Shampura (Fatehgarh Churian), ex-Brigadier Raj Kumar (Balachur) and former MP Mohan Singh Phalianwala (Ferozepur Rural).
The AAP's entry has made the Punjab elections, expected to be held early next year, a three-way affair for the first time. The other two main contenders are the ruling Akali Dal-BJP coalition and the Congress party.
In releasing the list of candidates well ahead of the polling schedules being announced, the party intends to replicate the Delhi story.
When it contested its maiden elections in the national capital in 2013, AAP had declared candidates way before the polling schedules were announced.
"This gave us an edge over others in terms of campaigning and chalking out strategy for each constituency," said a party leader.
Elections to the 117-member Punjab assembly are likely to be held in February next year.
The list did not include the name of AAP Punjab convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur. A private news channel owned by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and his family announced Chhotepur had quit the AAP. Chhotepur immediately called it "a FAKE News".
The AAP Punjab in-charge Sanjay Singh had earlier said that the first list of AAP candidates would be released by May-end or early June. But due to pressure from aspirants, this was was deferred twice.