With union information and broadcasting minister and sitting member of Parliament's Manish Tewari stepping into the fray for Lok Sabha elections, the disillusionment of the Congress workers and leaders has been replaced with enthusiasm.
Recent buzz about Tewari eying the Chandigarh seat had dampened the spirits of the Congressmen, especially the ones who had worked hard to ensure his win in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
In addition to the party workers, three sitting MLAs - Surinder Dawar from Ludhiana Central, Rakesh Pandey from Ludhiana North and Bharat Bhushan Ashu from Ludhiana West - have promised to extend complete support to the Congress candidate from Ludhiana.
Though the MLAs have raised their voice more than once against the sitting MP, accusing him of having ignored their interests, at present they claim to have "united" in the interest of the party.
Dawar had bagged 47,737 votes in the 2012 assembly elections by defeating Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Sat Pal Gosain. On the other hand, Pandey got 48,216 votes after defeating Praveen Bansal of BJP. The best record was of Ashu, who bagged 69,125 votes, and won with a margin of 35,922 votes by defeating Professor Rajinder Bhandari of BJP.
This total of 1,65,078 votes from just three assembly segments in the district is a count that would ascertain Congress's position in the Lok Sabha polls.
Hindustan Times asked each one of the MLAs about their present stand for the Congress candidate, to which Dawar said, "I am a Congressman through and through, thus there is no question of going against the party. We will make sure that Tewari is victorious for the second consecutive term."
MLA Pandey agreed to having differences with "individuals", but added, "When it comes to the party, every difference is buried in the hatchet. I always have and will extend whole-hearted support to the Congress candidate."
However, despite Ashu's statements to have extended unequivocal support to Tewari, the rumours of his affinity with independent candidate Simarjit Singh Bains fail to die down.
Sources in Congress said close aides of Ashu had put up posters of Bains in Model Town and Model Gram, which fell under Ashu's assembly constituency. They also said Ashu had asked the party to give him the charge of the District Congress in place of Pawan Dewan.
Commenting on the issue, Ashu said if his supporters from other parties were putting up posters of Bains, he could not do anything about it. But if they were from the Congress, he would definitely take strict action. "As far as the election campaign is concerned, I am waiting for Tewari to reach Ludhiana, so that we take our rivals head on," Ashu added.