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SAD to contest 10 seats in Punjab, leaves 3 for BJP

February 24, 2004 17:50 IST

The Shiromani Akali Dal, led by former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, on Tuesday left three of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab for its ally Bharatiya Janata Party, which the latter had contested in the last general election.

SAD, which had announced the name of five candidates earlier, on Tuesday completed the process of naming its candidates for the coming Lok Sabha elections by announcing the names for the remaining five seats. It had won two of the nine seats it contested in 1999.

It has re-nominated Zora Singh Mann from Ferozepur and fielded former animal husbandry minister Rattan Singh Ajnala for the Tarn Taran seat in place of Tarlochan Singh Tur.

It has left the Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur and Amritsar seats for the BJP, which had contested the three seats in 1999 too though only Vinod Khanna managed to win from Gurdaspur. Former state party chief Daya Singh Sodhi and Kamal Chaudhary had lost to Congress nominees in Amritsar and Hoshiarpur.

BJP sources in Chandigarh said the party had been pressing for the Phillaur seat from where SAD announced the candidature of former assembly speaker Charanjit Singh Atwal.

SAD has now become the first party in the state to complete the process of nominating candidates for the coming elections. The ruling Congress and BJP are still holding internal discussions while the Left parties - Communist Party of India and CPI-Marxist - are yet to decide the number of seats they would be contesting.

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