Modi, Sonia, Manmohan to campaign in Punjab

Chandigarh, Jan 19 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh are among an array of leaders who will try to woo voters in favour of their respective parties ahead of the February 4 assembly elections in Punjab.

No Congress or BJP leader from neighbouring Haryana, with which Punjab is embroiled in a major water-sharing controversy, has been included for campaigning in Punjab.

While Modi and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will seek votes for the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alliance, Sonia and Manmohan are among the 40-odd star campaigners for the opposition Congress.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) campaign is spearheaded by its National Convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

“The Prime Minister will address two rallies in Jalandhar (January 27) and Ludhiana (January 29) in favour of the SAD-BJP coalition. Besides, Jaitley and other leaders will seek votes for BJP candidates,” Punjab BJP Secretary Vineet Joshi said here on Thursday.

The Congress has roped in ex-cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin and Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, among others, to lend sparkle to its campaign. Actor turned politician and Uttar Pradesh Congress chief Raj Babbar will also campaign in the state for the Congress.

The Congress campaign is led by Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh. Cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who joined the Congress this week, is among its star campaigners.

The Congress list also includes several Congress Chief Ministers and former Chief Ministers from other states, including Virbhadra Singh from Himachal and former Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot.

Younger Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot and Shobha Oza will also campaign in Punjab, apart from Rajasthan PCC President Sachin Pilot.