The defeat of former Union Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal in the Lok Sabha elections is bringing about changes in the scenario in Chandigarh unit of the Congress. Another leader of the party and former Union Minister Manish Tewari has increased his activities in the city.
In the past one and a half months, Tewari has attended around two dozen programmes and is meeting people from different walks of life. On Saturday, he attended a religious programme in Sector 41. Interestingly, the programme was organised by Bhupinder Singh Badheri, who had applied for Congress ticket for the Lok Sabha from Chandigarh.
Tewari is learnt to have been holding meetings at his house attended by city residents from different spheres. While it is another five years for the elections, Tewari seems to be preparing ground. The rumblings in the Chandigarh Congress before and after the elections seems to have given rise to a situation where demands for change in leadership emerged.
Tewari had been active in politics in Chandigarh from his student days having been an office bearer of NSUI and later the Youth Congress. He along with another former Congress leader Venod Sharma used to be active contenders for the ticket from the city. However, Bansal won three consecutive Lok Sabha elections from the city, thereby wiping out all competition.
Tewari in the meantime shifted to Punjab and won the election from Ludhiana. It is after the rail bribery scam involving Bansal’s nephew that rumblings started in the Congress. Prior to the Lok Sabha elections, several aspirants from the local unit staked claim to the ticket. While Bansal finally got the ticket, he was defeated by around 70,000 votes by first time contestant and actor Kirron Kher.
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Several local leaders blamed the defeat on Bansal as well as Congress president B B Bahl. Congress had lost in all 26 wards. A Congress leader close to Tewari said that he would like to lay the ground for the next elections. Several local leaders of the Congress have met Tewari and are keen on him contesting from the city.
In fact, there are several local Congress leaders who are eying the post of the party president as well and lobbying for the same had also started after the election results.