Lok Sabha elections: Congress fields Vikramaditya, Manish Tewari | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Lok Sabha elections: Congress fields Vikramaditya, Manish Tewari

By, New Delhi
Apr 14, 2024 05:50 AM IST

More candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections were announced after a meeting of the party’s top poll body.

Former Union minister Manish Tewari will contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh minister Vikramaditya Singh from Mandi, the party announced on Saturday, unveiling a list of 16 candidates across three states and one Union Territory.

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge along with Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi during a meeting of the party’s Central Election Committee (CEC) in New Delhi on Saturday. (ANI)
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge along with Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi during a meeting of the party’s Central Election Committee (CEC) in New Delhi on Saturday. (ANI)

Hours after a long meeting of the party’s top poll body Central Election Committee (CEC), the Congress announced two candidates from Himachal Pradesh, four from Gujarat and nine from Odisha, apart from Tewari in Chandigarh.

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Tewari, the Anantpur Sahib MP and one of the party’s most articulate lawmakers in the Lok Sabha, will take on the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Sanjay Tandon. In Mandi, Singh will contest against actor Kangana Ranaut. Another high-profile match-up will be in Rajkot, where former leader of Opposition in Gujarat Paresh Dhanani will fight against Union minister Parshottam Rupala.

The prestigious Chandigarh seat was sought by two other heavyweight candidates — former railways minister Pawan Bansal and Chandigarh unit chief Harmohinder Singh Lucky.

“Tewari is a sitting MP while Bansal has lost both in 2019 and 2014. That was possibly the key factor,” said a senior member of CEC.

Tewari was one of the eight Congress MPs from Punjab in 2019. He wanted to shift to Chandigarh — a place with his family roots — and the Congress was open to fielding him from a place of his choice, said a second senior leader, requesting anonymity.

The party’s decision to field Singh — son of late six-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh and sitting Mandi MP and state unit chief Pratibha Singh — was also strategic.

After massive cross voting in the Rajya Sabha elections led to the defeat of Congress candidate Abhishek Singhvi in February, the party leadership sprang into action to quell factionalism in the state Congress. “Singh is the political heir of his father. He is a strong candidate from Mandi. But also, we have ensured the Singh family’s involvement in the election,” said a third senior leader.

CEC has also approved former Union minister Srikant Jena’s candidature from Balasore in Odisha. Jena joined the Congress on March 6 and was a Union minister under three PMs — Vishwanath Pratap Singh, HD Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh.

CEC on Saturday formed a panel of senior leaders to suggest suitable candidates for three to four seats of Haryana, as no decision could be reached for those constituencies. According to people familiar with the matter, CEC cleared former MP Deepender Hooda from Rohtak. and former MP Shruti Chowdhury from Bhiwani. “CEC is also set to have cleared Dharambir Gandhi from Patiala and the party’s joint treasurer Vijay Inder Singla from Ludhiana,” said a CEC member.

In the list, the Congress named Ramji Thakor, a Gujarat Kshatriya Thakor Sena (GKTS) group leader, from Mahesana, Ahmedabad city Congress chief Himmatsingh Patel from Ahmedabad East, Dhanani from Rajkot and trade union leader Naishadh Desai from Navsari.

With the latest list, the Congress has announced 268 candidates.

In Shimla, the Congress nominee is Vinod Sultanpuri, a legislator of the Himachal Pradesh assembly. The party also announced former Rajya Sabha MP Anant Prasad Sethi from Bhadrak, former MP Anchal Das from Jajpur, former Mahila Congress chief in Odisha Sashmita Behera from Dhenkanal, Sidharth Swarup Das from Kendrapara, former minister Rabindra Kumar Sethy from Jagatsinghpur, Sucharita Mohanty from Puri and NSUI state unit chief Yasir Nawaz from Bhubaneswar.

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