Gandhis, Manmohan, Azhar, Sonu Sood on Congress list of 40 star campaigners

Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice president Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, ex-cricketer Azharuddin and Bollywood star Sonu Sood are in the list of 40 star campaigners who will campaign forthe party in the Punjab assembly election.

assembly elections Updated: Jan 19, 2017 22:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Sonu Sood,Azharuddin,Rahul Gandhi

With two stars competing for the limelight, the Congress may not need more. Though Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh is named at number eight on the list of 40 star campaigners and Navjot Singh Sidhu is on the 38th spot, the Congress will rely on their star appeal with party’s top leaders, former prime minister Manmahon Singh, party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi playing a supporting role.

The dates for rallies of Manmohan, Sonia and Rahul will be finalised by the national unit. A party statement said Sidhu will campaign in Lambi, the seat where Amarinder is taking on CM Parkash Singh Badal, while Amarinder will campaign across the state.

Former cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin is also a part of the list along with actor Sonu Sood, who hails from Moga.

The list includes several Congress chief ministers and former chief ministers from various states, as well as a host of senior national-level party leaders, a party release said in Chandigarh on Thursday. These include Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot as well as former Punjab chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.

But former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda is not in the list. Hooda had stated he would not campaign in Punjab over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal row, and Amarinder had said that Punjab Congress will not extend an invite to those “against the state’s interests”.

Among the top All India Congress Committee (AICC) leaders chosen to give a boost to the Punjab campaign are general secretary Ambika Soni, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar and former Union ministers Sushilkumar Shinde and Pawan Kumar Bansal. AICC in-charge of Punjab affairs Asha Kumari is already camping in Punjab for the past several days to steer the party campaign in the state, while AICC general secretaries Digvijaya Singh and Mukul Wasnik will also add their weight to the campaign in the coming days.

Rajasthan PCC president Sachin Pilot and UPCC president Raj Babbar have also been listed by the Congress to strengthen the Congress campaign in the state. The list includes several Congress MPs and former MPs, besides All India Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza.

Several senior Punjab PCC leaders who are contesting the elections are on the list of campaigners whom the party high command has directed to lend their support to the candidates in other constituencies.

First Published: Jan 19, 2017 19:10 IST