Chandigarh: High command steps in to mollify Bansal - Hindustan Times
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Chandigarh: High command steps in to mollify Bansal

By, Chandigarh
Apr 19, 2024 08:42 AM IST

AICC Chandigarh in-charge Rajeev Shukla visited four-time MP Pawan Kumar Bansal at his residence in Sector 28, where he coaxed him to actively participate in party candidate Manish Tewari’s Lok Sabha poll campaign

Amid the ongoing uproar in the local unit of Congress, All India Congress Committee (AICC) Chandigarh in-charge Rajeev Shukla on Thursday tried to placate four-time MP Pawan Kumar Bansal to actively participate in party candidate Manish Tewari’s Lok Sabha poll campaign.

AICC Chandigarh in-charge Rajeev Shukla had flown in to Chandigarh to watch the Punjab Kings vs Mumbai Indians IPL match played at the Mullanpur stadium on Thursday evening. (HT Photo)
AICC Chandigarh in-charge Rajeev Shukla had flown in to Chandigarh to watch the Punjab Kings vs Mumbai Indians IPL match played at the Mullanpur stadium on Thursday evening. (HT Photo)

Shukla had flown in to Chandigarh to watch the Punjab Kings vs Mumbai Indians IPL match played at the Mullanpur stadium on Thursday evening.

Earlier in the afternoon, he headed to Bansal’s residence in Sector 28, where he coaxed him to participate in party programmes, while stressing on the importance of his support for the party’s win in Chandigarh, people familiar with the matter said.

Bansal is learnt to have been non-committal, while stating “since he has been asked to step back, he is stepping back”.

Talking to mediapersons later, Rajeev Shukla said the Congress was united in every way. “Pawan Bansal ji has been associated with the Congress for the last over 50 years. He is a revered leader and there is no question of any differences or issues. As far as resignations within the local unit are concerned, that is an entirely different issue and I will be having a word with those leaders separately,” he said.

Having won the Lok Sabha polls from Chandigarh four times in 1991, 1999, 2004 and 2009, Bansal was denied the ticket this time. He had also contested the polls in 2014 and 2019, but lost to BJP’s Kirron Kher.

Following the announcement of his ticket, Manish Tewari after landing in Chandigarh on Sunday had headed straight to city Congress president HS Lucky’s residence in Sector 8, where he was welcomed by party workers. But Tewari did not visit Bansal and the latter was also conspicuous by his absence at Lucky’s house.

The next day, Tewari had received another grand welcome at Congress Bhawan in Sector 35. But Bansal was again not present, raising many eyebrows. He later said he was busy and thus, could not attend the event.

In the following four days of campaign, Bansal, who remained quite vocal on city issues before the ticket announcement, has abstained from attending party meetings and the daily public meetings organised by the local unit in various parts of the city.

When contacted, Bansal said Shukla visited him and they had discussions over a number of election-related issues. “I have always stated that I am with the Congress,” he reiterated.

Since the announcement of Tewari’s candidature, a few office-bearers, including the local unit secretary Nitin Rai Chauhan, have left the party in support of Bansal. Moreover, over 100 party leaders and workers, including party vice-president Hafiz Anwar Ul Haq and Mahila Congress president Deipa Dubey, have submitted resignations, demanding removal of local party president HS Lucky for liking an Instagram post that mocked Bansal for losing the ticket, an allegation he has vehemently denied.

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