The president of the Chandigarh Territorial Congress Committee (CTCC) B B Bahl,in a meeting held with AICC general secretaries in New Delhi,recommended local MP Pawan Kumar Bansal’s as the party’s candidate from Chandigarh for the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Bahl recommended Bansal’s name saying he would be the most suitable candidate in the city. Bahl further stated that there was no alternative available. In the past,Bansal has won three consecutive Lok Sabha elections in the city in 1999,2004 and 2009.
The election committee of Congress’ Chandigarh unit had in October last year recommended Bansals name. The decision led senior leaders to express their displeasure at not being consulted. Thereafter Bansals name had been forwarded to senior leaders in New Delhi. The meeting held on Thursday was to assess if there was any change in what had been recommended earlier. The meeting also saw the issue of the rail bribery scam coming up. Bahl reportedly defended Bansal stating he was not involved.
Bansals nephew,Vijay Singla,was arrested by the CBI in May last year for accepting Rs 90 lakh as bribe from a member of the Railways Board. Bansal was then the Railways minister. Following the unearthing of the scam,Bansal was forced to resign,Several rounds of protests in the city had followed the scam.
Divisions within the Congress also came to the fore. Names of Manish Tewari,Kapil Sibal and Ambika Soni started doing the rounds as possible contenders for the ticket from the city.
Bahl said,There is no candidate from outside who can contest here. People of Chandigarh want a local candidate. They would not accept someone who does not live here. I have recommended the name of Pawan Bansal.
Another issue during the meeting was the presence of the Aam Aadmi Party in Chandigarh.