Groupism in the Chandigarh unit of the Congress was writ large on Sunday when former union minister Manish Teweri, along with party’s former city chief BB Bahl, former mayor Ravinder Singh Pali, held a public meeting at Maloya. The leaders present at public meeting declared that municipal corporation elections in 2017 would be held under the leadership on Tewari.
Conspicuous by their absence from the meeting were former Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and his supporters, including current city chief Pardeep Chhabra and former mayor Subhash Chawla. City mayor Poonam Sharma, who is a councillor from Maloya, was not invited to the meeting.
Interestingly, Bahl, who led the party in the city for 15 years, criticised his own partymen for protesting against house tax and revision of parking fee.
“It is strange that Congress which imposed the house tax is now protesting against it. The same Congress leaders are also protesting against revision of parking fee. It seems, they do not want development in city,” Bahl said.
Lashing out at local member of Parliament, Kirron Kher, Tewari said she was more aware about the censor board and least about the problems of Chandigarh. “Now, we are getting ready for the MC elections and will field honest and hardworking candidates. Today onwards we will reach out to people in every ward, colony and village,” he said.
When asked, why Bansal group was not invited for the meeting, he said everybody was welcome. Pali said the next MC elections would be fought under the leadership of Tewari. “For sorting out the local issues, Tewari will soon hold a meeting with UT adviser Vijay Kumar Dev,” he said.
Among others present at the meeting were youth Congress president Maninder Dhillon, former general secretary Gurbachan Singh and JN Shastri.
After defeat of former union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal in the Lok Sabha elections last year, Tewari had been actively taking interest in the city politics. Tewari is learnt to have been holding meetings with residents from different strata at his house, which exterts see as a sign of preparation for bigger role.