Apart from former railways minister and Chandigarh parliamentarian Pawan Kumar Bansal, five other Congress leaders are in the race for the party's Lok Sabha ticket from the city.
On Wednesday, the last day for filing applications for the party's ticket, the former president of the Youth Congress' Chandigarh unit, HS Lucky; Chandigarh Congress committee member Bhupender Singh Badheri; advocate and senior party leader Chaman Lal Sharma; and Punjab State Education Board former employee Kewal Ram submitted their applications to Chandigarh Congress president BB Bahl. Lucky had on Monday opposed Bansal's candidature publically.
Bansal and former party general secretary Chandramukhi Sharma had submitted their applications on Tuesday. However, Bansal was asked to file his nomination papers again. Bahl said that as Bansal's candidature was earlier decided unanimously, the process was scrapped as some more leaders also wanted to apply.
Lucky, Badheri and Chandramukhi Sharma are among those who wanted the party to field a fresh face from Chandigarh. As far as advocate Chaman Lal Sharma is concerned, he had also filed his candidature against Pawan Kumar Bansal for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat in 1991, but lost.
Lucky, who had opposed Bansal's candidature, reached the party office on Wednesday afternoon with nearly 50 supporters and submitted his application.
Condemning a statement by Bansal's nephew Vikram in which he had called defiant leaders as "rats", Lucky said the Congress' candidate had won from Chandigarh three times in a row because of such "rats". "We are not rats, we are lions," he said while addressing his supporters at the party office. Vikram Bansal had on Tuesday, while referring to defiant leaders, had said that rats had come out of their holes. Lucky also claimed that some senior party leaders were threatening those who were supporting him.
Meanwhile, the Congress' election committee will meet on Friday and take a call on the fate of ticket aspirants. "The committee will discuss the ticket-distribution issue," Bahl said. Shakeel Ahmed, party affairs in-charge for Chandigarh, is also likely to attend the meeting.
Fee for submitting application
for party ticket opposed
Kewal Ram, an SC category worker of the Congress, while submitting his papers, opposed the decision of party's Chandigarh unit chief, BB Bahl, to charge `5,000 from SC ticket aspirants and `10,000 from general category candidates. He said the money was not being charged in other places. "Bahl is acting like a dictator. The Congress is for the downtrodden. It should not have charged the money," he said. Ram did not submit the requisite `5,000 and Bahl accepted his application. He added that the party election committee would take a call on whether to accept the form or reject it.