Manish Tewari’s name missing from Cong star campaigners’ list for Punjab

New Delhi : The Congress has released its list of star campaigners for the February 20 Punjab Assembly elections with the surprise omission of the partys lone non-Sikh Lok Sabha MP from the state, Manish Tewari, who represents Anandpur Sahib in the Lower House.The list of 30 star campaigners includes Sonia Gandhi, Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Harish Chaudhary, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Charanjit Singh Channi, Ambika Soni, Meira Kumar, Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel, Sunil Jakhar, Partap Singh Bajwa, Ajay Maken and Bhupindra Singh Hooda, and Anand Sharma, among others.Tewari, a former Union minister, is a prominent face in the party who was one of the signatories in the letter written by the G-23 leaders to Sonia Gandhi.Sources said that with Punjab having 40 per cent Hindu population and a significant number migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, Tewari would have been an ideal pick as he not only represents the Hindu community, but also strikes a chord with the migrants because of his roots in Uttar Pradesh.Anandpur Sahib has always been a stronghold of the Sikh faith and Tewari had won the seat in 2019 after senior party leader Ambika Soni unsuccessfully contested the seat in 2014.

His supporters are miffed with his omission from the star campaigners’ list, saying that he being the only Hindu leader to get elected to the Lol Sabha from the state, what kind of a message is the party trying to send across by ignoring Tewari.When IANS contacted him, Tewari said, “Ask those who prepared the list.”However, the party has included the names of several non-Sikh leaders in the list such as Anand Sharma, who was also a member of the G-23, and others like Ambika Soni, Sunil Jakhar, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Ashok Gehlot, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Rajeev Shukla, Sachin Pilot and Kumari Seilja.His supporters are upset that even the names of Amrita Dhawan, Netta Dzousa and others are there in the list, alleging that Tewari has been deliberately left out.Sources said that Tewari is perceived to be close to former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, which could be a reason for Congress not naming him in the star campaigners’ list.The controversy erupted just ahead of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Ludhiana on February 6, where he is likely to announce the party’s CM face in the run-up to the Assembly elections in Punjab.The 117-member Punjab Assembly will go to the polls on February 20, while the counting of votes will be taken up on March 10.



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