In Chandigarh, Tewari vs Tandon duel on last day of campaign - Hindustan Times
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In Chandigarh, Tewari vs Tandon duel on last day of campaign

May 31, 2024 05:25 AM IST

The Congress and BJP nominees from Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat engaged in fiery verbal sparring at press conferences, while claiming certain victory

Before campaigning for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat, which goes to polls on June 1, ended on Thursday evening, the head-to-head battle between Congress and BJP nominees Manish Tewari and Sanjay Tandon shifted to the media arena, with both unleashing verbal blows in separate interactions.

Congress candidate taking out a ‘Save Constitution’ march in Chandigarh on the last day of campaigning on Thursday. (HT Photo)
Congress candidate taking out a ‘Save Constitution’ march in Chandigarh on the last day of campaigning on Thursday. (HT Photo)

Not holding back, Tewari accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah of deserting Tandon upon sensing defeat. Meanwhile, Tandon retaliated, highlighting Rahul Gandhi’s absence from Tewari’s campaign trail, insinuating his diminished standing within the Congress ranks. Hurling accusations, both sides claimed an imminent triumph.

Tandon is contesting for the first time after two-time MP Kirron Kher opted out due to health reasons. Tewari on the other hand is a two-time MP from Ludhiana and Anandpur Sahib, having also served as the Union minister of information and broadcasting in the UPA government.

Backed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Congress’ INDIA bloc partner, Tewari, throughout the campaign, repeatedly challenged Tandon to an open debate, which he did not accept.

Tewari often referred to the Anil Masih controversy in his campaign, terming it “a murder of democracy” and saying that “a vote to Tandon will be a vote to Masih”.

Tandon, who is banking on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make his maiden entry in the Parliament, relentlessly called Tewari a “habitual halqa hopper” for switching his constituencies from Ludhiana to Anandpur Sahib to Chandigarh.

Since announcement of his candidature on April 10, through the past 50 days, Tandon notched up 307 public events, including rallies, roadshows, foot marches and religious meetings.

BJP candidate Sanjay Tandon during a foot march on the last day of campaigning in Chandigarh on Thursday. (HT Photo)
BJP candidate Sanjay Tandon during a foot march on the last day of campaigning in Chandigarh on Thursday. (HT Photo)

Tewari, who was announced as the Congress nominee three days later on April 13, also organised as many as 309 public events, including 76 foot marches spanning 250 km, through the 47 days.

He signed off his campaign on Thursday with a “Save Constitution” march, which started from Sector 28 and concluded in Sector 19.

Rahul Gandhi, Modi skip Chandigarh campaign

For the first time in the past 10 years, both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi skipped canvassing in the city.

Pawan Kumar Bansal, who had remained absent throughout Tewari’s campaign, finally made an appearance during Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s rally on May 26. On May 29, AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal also held a roadshow for the Congress nominee.

For the BJP candidate, party president JP Nadda, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, union ministers Hardeep Chandpuri, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal, Nitin Gadkari and Anurag Thakur campaigned in the city. However, the absence of former local MP Satya Pal Jain, former BJP president Arun Sood, both prominent contenders for the ticket, and former mayor Davesh Moudgil reeked of disquiet in the party.

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