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Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal Monday announced party candidates for five more constituencies, taking the total number of party nominees announced for 2022 Punjab elections to 69.

Sukhbir declared Hira Singh Gabria as candidate from Ludhiana South, Vir Singh Lopoke from Raja Sansi, Mohinderpal Rinwa from Abohar, Nishan Singh from Budhlada and Baldev Singh Manuke from Nihal Singh Wala.

Last month, SAD had released a list of 64 candidates. As per seat sharing arrangement with alliance partner Bahujan Samaj Party for 117 assembly seats, the SAD will contest on 97 seats and BSP on 20.

An ex-serviceman, Baldev Singh Manuke is a first timer and belongs to village Manuke of Nihal Singh Wala. He has been given ticket after ex-bureaucrat S R Kaler, who had contested from Nihal Singh Wala in 2017, has been moved to his old constituency Jagraon as SAD candidate.

In 2017, Rajwinder Kaur Bhagike, who was sitting SAD MLA from Nihal Singh Wala, had quit the party ahead of Punjab polls after she was denied ticket. She had an open confrontation with SAD veteran Tota Singh over distribution of tickets and alleged that “since Tota Singh was close to Badals, all tickets were given to his aides in Moga district”.

She then joined Congress and was given ticket from Nihal Singh Wala, but lost to Manjit Singh of AAP in 2017. SAD’s Kaler was placed distant third in 2017 polls. Kaler had won from Jagraon in 2012.

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