Sachin Pilot, Ghulam Nabi Azad among Congress’ star campaigners for Bihar - Hindustan Times
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Sachin Pilot, Ghulam Nabi Azad among Congress’ star campaigners for Bihar

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Oct 11, 2020 05:12 AM IST

The list of star campaigners also includes Sonia Gandhi, former PM Manmohan Singh, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, one of the 23 dissenters who wrote a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi seeking an overhaul of the party’s organisational structure, and Sachin Pilot, who revolted against Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, are among the 30 star campaigners of the party for the upcoming Bihar assembly elections.

Congress leader Sachin Pilot is greeted by his supporters on his way to his constituency Tonk of Rajasthan.(PTI)
Congress leader Sachin Pilot is greeted by his supporters on his way to his constituency Tonk of Rajasthan.(PTI)

The list of star campaigners, submitted by the Congress to the Election Commission of India on Saturday, also includes Sonia Gandhi, former PM Manmohan Singh, former party chief Rahul Gandhi and general secretary incharge of UP Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

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In their letter to Sonia Gandhi on August 7, the 23 dissenters had called for an introspection behind the “steady decline” of the 135-year-old organisation while outlining an 11-point action plan.

Two other signatories of the letter, Akhilesh Prasad Singh and Raj Babbar, also feature on the star campaigners list.

Apart from three chief ministers – Captain Amarinder Singh (Punjab), Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan) and Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh) – the Congress star campaigners also include former Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Shatrughan Sinha, Kirti Azad and Udit Raj. The three leaders had joined the Congress ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Former Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam and poet Imran Pratapgarhi, who contested the last Lok Sabha elections from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh, are the other star campaigners.

A Congress functionary, familiar with the matter, said it is unlikely that Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh will visit Bihar for campaigning, but did not rule out the two leaders addressing virtual rallies.

He said Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi are likely to campaign in Bihar and some other states where by-elections will be held on November 3, including Madhya Pradesh.

In view of the risk of transmission at election rallies amid the coronavirus disease pandemic, the EC has reduced the maximum number of campaigners for recognised parties from 40 to 30. For unrecognised parties, the number has been fixed at 20.

The Congress is contesting on 70 seats as part of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ or ‘Grand Alliance’, playing a second fiddle to Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which is fighting on 144 of the total 243 seats.

The other constituent of the ‘Grand Alliance’ -- Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) or CPI(ML) -- are together contesting on 29 seats.

Bihar will vote in three phases between October 28 and November 7. The results will be announced on November 10. The ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Thursday partially modified its latest Covid-19 guidelines to allow political rallies in 12 states where elections are scheduled to be held.

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