Sonia, Rahul to lead Congress campaign in Bengal; G-23 leaders missing

Prominent G-23 members including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma, Kapil Sibal and Manish Tewari have not been included in the Congress list of star campaigners for West Bengal assembly elections.

The list of 30-star campaigners includes Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Sachin Pilot, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Abhijit Mukherjee and Mohammad Azharuddin.

Party chief ministers Ashok Gehlot, Capt Amarinder Singh and Bhupesh Baghel are also in the list.

Twenty-three Congress leaders, referred to as G-23, had in August last written to Sonia Gandhi calling for "full-time and effective leadership" and internal elections including to Congress Working Committee.

The dissenters have said that Congress is "weakening" and they are raising their voice for the betterment of the party.

Gulam Nabi Azad had told ANI that he will campaign for the party during elections if he is asked.

Young faces like Jaiveer Shergill has also made it to the campaigners' list for West Bengal. Former union minister Salman Khurshid is also in the list and he and cricketer-turned-politician Mohammad Azharuddin are seen as a replacement of Azad as a face from among the main minority community.

Congress on Friday sought to play down the absence of Azad and some other leaders from the list in a state which has a significant presence of minorities.

Party spokesperson Pawan Khera said more lists will come as elections are being held in four states and a union territory.

"It is not the only list. More lists will come," he said to a query about names of G-23 leaders missing from the list.

Elections to 294-member West Bengal Assembly will be held in eight phases from March 27 to April 29. Counting of votes will take place on May 2.


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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