While there are loads of applications of candidates seeking tickets from the 12 parliamentary constituencies of Punjab for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Ludhiana is the only constituency from where no application has come so far for contesting polls. These were the exact words of Union Minister and Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari amid rumours that he may not contest the elections from his ‘safe’ constituency of Ludhiana.
Quashing the rumours, Tewari said, “I have worked so much for this constituency so why will I not contest from this place? Also, to my knowledge there is not a single aspirant for Lok Sabha elections from Ludhiana so why should I step back.”
Lashing the SAD government and adding that the rumours were being spread as part of strategy by the opposition parties, Tewari said that the question of running away must be asked from SAD as they keep changing candidates every elections.
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“I came as a migratory bird in 2004 to contest from Ludhiana but I made it my home and worked towards its development. In fact Congress had the same candidates in 2004 and 2009 and even now I hope that party gives me ticket from Ludhiana only( formal ticket allotment yet to happen). However SAD has always changed their candidates. So the question of running away must be asked from them,” the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting said.
However, Tewari was quick to add that even though he expects to contest from Ludhiana, he will abide by the party’s decision if its is different.
” In 2004, Sharanjeet Dhillon contested and in 2009, Galib was the SAD’s candidate and now there is yet another SAD face. In fact the SAD leaders are coming and going but I am the same,” Tewari said.
It needs to be mentioned that while SAD and AAP have already announced their candidates and started their election campaign , Tewari is yet to come to the city. He said,” just because other parties have announced their candidates, it does not mean that I too should come in panic mode. I have duties within the party as I am part of the screening committee, manifesto committee and so on. So I am wrapping up my work in Delhi so as to be with the `warm’ Ludhianavis soon.”
It is a four cornered contest in Ludhiana with SAD’s Manpreet Ayali and AAP’s HS Phoolka already busy campaigning and SAD’s associate member Simarjeet Singh Bains indicating of a contest as an independent candidate.
Tewari said,” it is too early to predict anything as of now as even election dates have not been announced.”
Stating that he is the most impeccable parliamentarian, Tewari said, ” I have been the most impeccable parliamentarian so far as my performance is considered in the whole state. I have spoken more in the parliament in the past 5 years than all the Ludhiana MPs who spoke from 1952-2009. I have undertaken so many projects for the betterment of the city and even withpout the support of the state, continued to work on them. I also brought Ludhiana on the political map of the country.”
Infighting within the party:
Talking about the infighting within the party, Tewari agreed that he has differences with few Congress leaders within the party but they will be sorted out. He said,” there are few hiccups, but they will be sorted out. The party on the whole is united.” Interestingly Tewari had not been able to sort out his differences for the past many years.
Further, Tewari stated that he was not much proficient in marriage, bhog and akhand path functions (MBA) in the district. Otherwise, he remained in touch with the problems of the masses, he claimed.
Rumours are also being spread that Congress MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu who is also not having cordial relations with Tewari is likely to get ticket from Ludhiana, however Ashu when asked said,” I never sought ticket for the Lok Sabha Elections. So why will I contest.”