The Congress screening committee is learnt to have recommended the name of MP Pawan Kumar Bansal as the party candidate from Chandigarh. His name will now be sent to the party high command for the final approval.
The screening committee for Chandigarh, which met in New Delhi on Sunday, is headed by senior Congress leader P C Chacko, who is in charge of committees for the neighbouring states as well. The election committee in Chandigarh had unanimously proposed Bansal’s name as the candidate from the city.
President of Chandigarh unit of the Congress B B Bahl who attended the meeting said that the screening committee was in favour of Bansal. Bahl was questioned by the members of the screening committee about the rail bribery scam and the impact it could have on the voters. He expressed confidence that Bansal’s name would be finalised by the party high command as well.
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Incharge of the Chandigarh unit of the party Shakeel Ahmed said that the committee had made its recommendation and it would be sent to the party high command.
After the rail bribery scam involving the nephew of Bansal, several names had started doing the rounds who could be fielded in the city. In fact, after several years the party also witnessed dissension with a section of the Congress members opposing Bansal’s candidature. The issue was subsequently resolved with those who had applied for the ticket from Chandigarh withdrawing from the race and extending support to Bansal.
In fact, the local election committee has twice resolved unanimously in favour of Bansal. During voting that was held in the election committee in Chandigarh, all nine members unanimously voted for Bansal. However, the party had also forwarded the applications from other aspirants.
Bansal has won the last three elections of the Lok Sabha and has the distinction of being the only MP to have been representing the city for the past 15 years. He had also won the election from the city in 1991. see also page 3