Chandigarh Congress leadership goes in damage control mode - Hindustan Times
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Chandigarh Congress leadership goes in damage control mode

By, Chandigarh
Apr 17, 2024 09:12 AM IST

Congress’ Chandigarh candidate Manish Tewari tries to placate party cadres who are gunning for removal of city chief HS Lucky over alleged disrespect to four-time MP Pawan Bansal

Senior leadership of the local unit of Congress was seen in damage control mode on Tuesday, with closed-door talks, negotiations, requests as well as withdrawal of some resignations becoming the order of the day.

Congress’ Chandigarh candidate Manish Tewari, along with local party chief HS Lucky, paying obeisance at Mansa Devi temple in Manimajra on Tuesday. (HT photo)
Congress’ Chandigarh candidate Manish Tewari, along with local party chief HS Lucky, paying obeisance at Mansa Devi temple in Manimajra on Tuesday. (HT photo)

Talks between Chandigarh Congress candidate Manish Tewari and Mahila Congress president Deipa Dubey, who had resigned with 61 others on Monday, demanding removal of local Congress president HS Lucky over his alleged disrespect to four-time MP Pawan Bansal, failed to cut ice.

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Meanwhile, 30 more leaders/office-bearers belonging to the Himachal cell of the Chandigarh Congress put in their papers, gunning for Lucky’s removal for allegedly liking an Instagram post demeaning Bansal.

Meanwhile, Bansal continued to stay away from all party programmes and events on Tuesday as well.

Tewari visited Dubey at her Sector 15 residence in the evening, where he heard her grievances against Lucky and tried to reach a middle ground, but to no avail. Dubey, while talking to HT, said she stuck to her stand, demanding removal of Lucky from the president’s post, but Tewari told her it was not possible at this point of time.

“Once Lucky resigns from his post, we will resume working immediately. We will even work round-the-clock to ensure Manish Tewari’s win. It was highly immature of Lucky to like that Instagram post that mocked Bansal and we have evidence in form of a screenshot. Moreover, Lucky has been telling all others, including media, that Tewari got the ticket because of him, which is so unprofessional,” said Dubey.

The feud started over an Instagram post, mocking Bansal over not being given the Chandigarh ticket, which was allegedly liked by Lucky.

The post read: “Pawan Bansal ke sath ho gaya khel, Manish Tewari Chandigarh se ummeedwar, Congress party ne ghoshit kiya naam. Congratulations, Congress party zindabad HS Lucky, Manoj Lubana bhai zindabad (Pawan Bansal tricked, Manish Tewari announced as Congress candidate from Chandigarh. Congratulations, long live the Congress, long live HS Lucky, Manoj Lubana.”

Alleging that Lucky liked this post, an accusation he has vehemently denied, local party cadres demanded his removal through their resignation letter to National Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge.

“We all are requesting you to remove HS Lucky from the post of party president if the Congress party wants to win the seat from Chandigarh. Till then, we are resigning from all our posts of the Chandigarh Congress Committee,” stated the resignation letter from Deipa Dubey to Kharge.

Resignations taken back, leaders have reaffirmed support: Lucky

Meanwhile, Lucky issued a statement that key members of the Chandigarh Youth Congress, headed by Manoj Lubana, had reaffirmed their support for him and to Tewari’s candidature.

“There has been some speculation swirling around regarding the resignations of workers and post holders from the Chandigarh Youth Congress, following the announcement of Manish Tewari’s ticket. However, these rumours are unfounded. The leadership of the Chandigarh Youth Congress has issued a statement reaffirming their support for Tewari’s candidacy and emphasising unity within the party ranks,” said Lucky.

Earlier in the day, Lucky also released a video saying that he does not handle his Instagram account and would never like a post that demeans Bansal. “I have profound respect for Bansal ji, I will never do such a thing,” he said in the video.

It’s a storm in a tea cup: Tewari

Tewari termed the current situation “a storm in a tea cup”. He said the party was united in its stand and most of the resignations had been taken back on Tuesday. “Most of the resignations have been taken back. The party is united and this has been made clear by the statements of Chandigarh Youth Congress leader and other workers as well,” he said.

More resignations pour in

As many as 30 more leaders belonging to the Himachal Cell of the local Congress put in their papers on Tuesday, demanding Lucky’s removal.

Cell’s president Mihir Guleria alleged that Lucky used derogatory words against Bansal in their WhatsApp group as well. “Lucky termed Bansal ‘taaneshah’ in the group. We welcome Manish Tewari to Chandigarh, but demand immediate removal of Lucky from the post of Congress president,” he said, adding that around one lakh voters from Himachal Pradesh were settled in Chandigarh.

Among those who resigned on Tuesday were 15 office-bearers of the Himachal cell, various other block and district members, and seven members of District 1.

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