Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari took a swipe at the party on Saturday, a day after his name was left out of the star campaigners list for the Punjab elections. Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, and Rahul Gandhi among others are on the list that does not name Manish Tewari and Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Mr Tewari, who is the party’s only Hindu MP in Punjab, and Mr Azad were among the “G-23” rebel leaders who wrote to Sonia Gandhi in 2020 over the need for “sweeping changes” and urgent reforms in the party in an explosive letter. But the campaigners’ list on Friday had two other G-23 leaders – Anand Sharma and Bhupinder Singh Hooda.
“I would have been pleasantly surprised if it would have been the other way around. The reasons are also no state secret,” Tewari said in response to former Congress MP Abhijeet Mukherjee, who pointed out that several senior Congress leaders had been left out of the list.
He also responded to former President Pranab Mukherjee’s son’s tweet who described it as a “sad state of affairs”.
“Sad state of affairs in @INCPunjab as they exclude a prominent senior congress leader, MP from Punjab & former minister @ManishTewari Ji from the list of star campaigners in poll-bound Punjab! Such narrow-minded steps will never help Congress to win elections! (sic),” former Congress MP Abhijit Mukherjee, who had joined Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress last year wrote.
Calling Mr Tewari “one of the finest parliamentarians”, he further added, “Brother @ManishTewari Ji, our people with their votes are the only answer to such bipartisan mentality! Come what may, you shall always remain indomitable! You have always been one of the finest parliamentarians I have seen & that has been my late father’s opinion too (sic).”
Earlier this week, the party had put out a star campaigners’ list for Uttarakhand, which named Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi but Navjot Singh Sidhu’s name was missing.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was targeted last month after he received Padma Bhushan, is also among the star campaigners in the hilly state of Uttarakhand.
In Punjab, the Congress had been facing a lot of infighting last year too that eventually led to the exit of Amarinder Singh as he stepped down from the Chief Minister’s post amid differences with Mr Sidhu, making way for CS Channi, the state’s first-ever Dalit Chief Minister.
The party is yet to declare the chief ministerial candidate, which, most likely, will be announced tomorrow.