New Delhi: Congress MP Manish Tewari says the reason why the Congress high command decided not to include him in the list of party’s star campaigners for Punjab, the state from where he is the sitting Lok Sabha MP, was “no state secret”.
While the Anandpur Sahib MP didn’t elaborate on the reason, it is common knowledge that there is extreme trust deficit between the Congress leadership, especially Gandhi family scion Rahul Gandhi, and Tewari.
In fact, contrary to suggestions, his being part of the G-23 group – a reference to the Congress leaders who wrote a scathing letter to interim party chief Sonia Gandhi in 2020, seeking sweeping changes in the way the party was being run, has nothing to do with his current predicament.
After all, names like former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder SIngh Hooda and Rajya Sabha MP Anand Sharma figure in the 30-member list even though both were signatories to the letter sent to Sonia Gandhi.
“For some reason Rahul ji doesn’t trust him. And if Rahul ji doesn’t like somebody, it doesn’t matter how useful that person is for the party, the fall from grace is imminent, often swift. While Manish Tewari may have done something to anger the leadership, it is the responsibility of the leadership also to talk to a leader who is showing signs of carrying a grudge or being upset at being repeatedly slighted. The question is has either Rahul ji or anyone at his behest spoken to Manish to find out the reason for his angst? He is after all our Lok Sabha MP,” said a party leader.
One reason behind the Congress leadership’s apparent love-hate relationship with the street-smart politician, a former Union minister, is his perceived closeness to former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Many won’t remember that when, after winning the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections, Capt Amarinder Singh held an impromptu press conference in Chandigarh, Tewari was seated next to him.
Thereafter, it was Amarinder who ensured that Tewari was fielded in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the Anandpur Sahib constituency and won by over 46,000 votes.“If his (Tewari’s) closeness with Capt Amarinder is the reason why the high command doesn’t trust him, then what about others? I don’t want to take any names, but there are some in the list of star campaigners, who have met Maharaja Sahib (Amarinder) even after he quit the party. The problem lies somewhere else,” observed another Congress leader who didn’t wish to be quoted.