The Amritsar Lok Sabha seat will witness a clash of stalwarts with Congress on Friday announcing Amarinder Singh as its candidate to take on senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, who is fighting his maiden electoral battle.
A surprise announcement was about party general secretary Ambika Soni, who will take on Akali Dal leader Premsingh Chandumajra in the Anandpur Sahib seat.
However, suspense remains over the Ludhiana seat held by Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, who was taken ill and had to be admitted to a city hospital last week.
The party did not announce his candidature even as its fifth list is out and 389 candidates already announced. Sources had it that Tewari’s name was cleared by the party yesterday but the announcement was withheld as it was not clear whether he was physically fit to fight.
With Amarinder being brought in, Congress has made it amply clear that it plans to field formidable candidates against all top BJP leaders including Narendra Modi.
The sources said that party Vice President Rahul Gandhi is keen that an impression should not go that Congress is shy of taking on BJP head on and suggested all senior leaders having strong regional presence fight the polls.
Senior Maharashtra minister Shivaji Rao Moghe was fielded from Yavatmal while the party brought in former West Bengal PCC chief Manas Bhuiyan from Ghatal seat.
Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder was not keen on contesting from Amritsar and had yesterday suggested that a local candidate should be fielded from Amritsar. However, a phone call from Congress President Sonia Gandhi is believed to have made all the difference.
Soni, a former Union minister who now heads Congress President’s Office, replaces sitting MP Ravneet Singh Bittu.
Sitting Gopalganj MP from JD (U) Purnmasi Ram, whose candidature was announced by Congress from the seat, was shifted to adjoining Valmikinagar bringing Doctor Jyoti in his place at Gopalganj.
A councillor in Kolkata Municipal Corporation Mala Roy is party nominee from South Kolkata while noted painter Samir Aich has been fielded from Jadavpur.