The Congress Friday named Navjot Singh Sidhu among its star campaigners for the October 30 bypolls to four seats — three Assembly and one Lok Sabha — in Himachal Pradesh, just days after he created a fresh crisis in the party’s Punjab unit by submitting his resignation as its chief.
In a letter sent to the Election Commission of India, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal has submitted a list of 20 star campaigners, which also includes new inductee Kanhaiya Kumar, for the by-elections to Mandi Lok Sabha and Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal-Kotkhai Assembly seats.
Sidhu had submitted his resignation as the Punjab Congress chief last month, saying he could not compromise on his state’s future and its welfare. It was only after a 10-day tussle with the high command that Sidhu started taking up works as the PPCC chief and promptly announced a march to Uttar Pradesh to meet the families of the farmers who died in violence in Lakhimpur Kheri.
The Congress has also listed its two chief ministers — Charanjit Singh Channi (Punjab) and Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh) — as its star campaigners apart from actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar, Shimla (Rural) MLA Vikramaditya Singh, former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Punjab minister Gurkirat Singh Kotli.
A notable name missing from the list of star campaigners is that of former Punjab chief minister Capt Amrinder Singh who shares family relations with Pratibha Singh, the wife of former Himachal CM Virbhadra Singh and the Congress candidate for Mandi parliamentary constituency.
Others in the list include senior party leaders Anand Sharma, Rajeev Shukla, Asha Kumari, Dhaniram Shandil, Sachin Pilot, Sanjay Dutt, Thakur Kaul Singh, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, Kuldeep Singh Rathore, Mukesh Agnihotri, Rajender Rana, and Dharamvir Singh Rana.
AICC co-incharge for Himachal Sanjay Dutt said they are to finalise the dates on which the star campaigners will visit the state to canvass for party candidates.