Just ahead of the Municipal Corporation polls, rift within the Congress widened on Tuesday with Manish Tewari camp demanding an inquiry into the allegations levelled by party members against former railway minister Pawan Bansal and local party president Pardeep Chhabra.
The group led by Chandermukhi Sharma along with principal Gurbachan Singh will meet party president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Wednesday. They have also written a letter to Sonia, demanding a high-level inquiry by a committee.
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Addressing a press conference, the leaders belonging to the Tewari camp demanded resignation of Bansal and Chhabra, and alleged both the leaders were running the party as a private company. Apart from Chandermukhi and principal Gurbachan, the other leaders present at the press conference were J N Shastri, Jagat Sharma and Kulbir Singh.
Recently, Congress secretary Sandeep Bhardwaj had accused the party of denying the ticket initially due to caste issues while general secretary Subash Sharma levelled allegations of cheating against Chhabra. Principal Gurbachan said, “Why no action has been taken against both the leaders despite serious allegations against them?”
The letter sent to Sonia reads: “We, the senior Congressmen of Chandigarh, urge you to constitute a high-level inquiry committee to probe Subhash Sharma and Sandeep Bhardwaj’s allegations at the earliest. If found to be correct then action should be taken against Pardeep Chhabra and Bansal. If the allegations are incorrect then action should be initiated against Subhash Sharma and Sandeep Bhardwaj for tarnishing the image of the party. Even though we have been completely ignored, we still have the good of the party at heart.”
The loyalists from Tewari’s camp did not get any ticket for the corporation polls. Over the ticket distribution, principal Gurbachan said, “Only those people get tickets who fold hands before Bansal and his family. By sitting at home, Bansal decided who all should be given the tickets.”
The leaders also questioned the structure of the party. “I remember a list of workers was given to the candidate before the polls saying that these people would be working with you in the ward and now candidates have been left to their own fate. The entire system has collapsed.”
When contacted, Tewari said that he was unaware of this as he was in Chennai.
However, talking to Chandigarh Newsline, Bansal said, “I treat anything which they say with the contempt they deserve.”