Sonia Gandhi meets Punjab leaders; Congress may announce Sunil Jakhar name for Gurdaspur bypoll

NEW DELHI (INDIA): Congress chief Sonia Gandhi today held meetings with senior Punjab unit leaders as the party sought to finalise its candidate for the October 11 Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll.

Gandhi met state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, a possible candidate, and then had a meeting with Rajya Sabha MP and former PCC chief Pratap Singh Bajwa, party sources said.

Bajwa was accompanied by his wife, Charanjit Kaur Bajwa, another contender. Kaur is a former MLA.

The Congress president had yesterday met Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh and discussed with him the names of possible candidates for the seat.

The CM is learnt to have put his weight behind Jakhar, as most of the MLAs favoured his candidature, the sources added.

The Congress leadership is wary that factionalism could affect the party’s prospects and is considering winnability as the only factor, they added.

The party has to announce its candidate by September 22, the last date for nominations. The Election Commission had issued the notification for the bypoll on September 15.

The Punjab Congress has authorised Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi to take the final call on the candidate for the bypoll, necessitated by the death of BJP MP Vinod Khanna.

Source: Press Trust of India