Rift in the local unit of Congress came to the fore again on Monday when loyalists of former Union minister Manish Tewari refused to fill the form while applying for contesting in the upcoming municipal corporation elections to be held in the third week of December.
Most of the candidates who applied for the ticket are loyalists of former Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal.
As Monday was the last day for submitting the application forms, around party 125 candidates applied, but Tewari loyalists said this was not the way as they were asked to apply for second to time, that too with loyalty affidavit. Earlier, the Tewari group had demanded 11 ticket.
Chander Mukhi Sharma, a Tewari loyalist, said, “What is the guarantee that they will not ask for application for the third time. We have brought this wrong practice to the high command’s notice and they have assured us to look into the matter.”
Another Tewari loyalist former UT Congress vice-president, Gurbachan Singh said, “We have never seen such thing in the party in the past five decades. We have spent entire life serving the Congress and now they are asking us to prove our loyalty to the party. This is hurting us.”
Chandigarh Congress unit president Pardeep Chhabra said, “We have just sought the consent of those who want to contest the election. Now have told the serious candidates to fill application forms. This time, the UT Congress has replicated the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) form for accepting the application from candidates seeking party ticket. Winnability will be the only criterion for selecting the candidates.”
Among sitting Congress councillors who applied for the ticket were Subhash Chawla, Gurbax Rawat, Sheela Devi and Harphool Chander Kalyan. Among former Congress councillors who applied for ticket are HS Lucky, Devinder Singh Babla and Kamlesh Banarsi Dass. Other Congress leaders who applied for ticket are Shashi Shanker Tewari and Meenashkhi Chaudhary.
In the current House, of 26 elected councillors, the Congress has nine and the SAD-BJP alliance has 15 members. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has one councillor while there is one Independent member.