Punjab polls: Cong appoints Deepender Hooda, Rajeev Shukla as special observer

Congress on Thursday has appointed Rajeev Shukla and Deepender Singh Hooda as special observer for Punjab Assembly elections which goes to polls on February 20.

Congress has picked up incumbent Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi as the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate in a bid to “woo” Dalit voters, which has 32 per cent vote share in the state.

In his brief helm of 111 days, Channi built an image of the common man’s Chief Minister by extensively touring the state, occasionally performing ‘bhangra’ on the beats of a ‘dhol’ at public functions, favouring tea at roadside eateries while narrating couplets to the masses, besides accepting ‘siropas’ (religious robes) enroute by stopping his cavalcade.

The key opponents in the state — the AAP, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) combine and the BJP in alliance with Amarinder Singh’s new party Punjab Lok Congress and the Samyukt Samaj Morcha, the fledging coalition of farm unions — are making an issue out of the Congress CM’s face.

The prominent faces in the polls are Channi (Congress), 58; Mann (AAP), 48; Sukhbir Singh Badal (SAD), 59; Amarinder Singh (BJP-led alliance), 80; and Balbir Singh Rajewal (Samyukt Samaj Morcha), 78.

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