The Congress has included Navjot Singh Sidhu among its star campaigners for the October 30 bypolls in Himachal Pradesh, just days after he created a fresh crisis in the Punjab unit by submitting his resignation as its chief. In a letter sent to the Election Commission of India Friday, Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal has submitted a list of 20 star campaigners — which also includes new inductee Kanhaiya Kumar — for the by-elections to Mandi Lok Sabha and Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal-Kotkhai Assembly seats of Himachal Pradesh.
Sidhu had submitted his resignation as the Punjab Congress chief last month, saying he could not compromise on his states future and its welfare. However, it was not yet clear if the party high command has accepted or rejected his resignation. Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Chaani, actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar, Shimla (Rural) MLA Vikramaditya Singh, former Haryana CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Punjab minister Gurkirat Singh Kotli have also been included in the list of star campaigners for the by-polls. Chhattishgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel, senior Congress leaders Anand Sharma, Rajeev Shukla, Asha Kumari, Dhaniram Shandil, Sachin Pilot, Sanjay Dutt, Thakur Kaul Singh, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu have also been named among the star campaigners. Others in the list are Kuldeep Singh Rathore, Mukesh Agnihotri, Rajender Rana, Dharamvir Singh Rana and Kanhaiya Kumar.
The Congress general secretary KC Venugopal has also sent the copy of its star campaigners to Himachal Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer. Sidhu was made the Punjab Congress chief after a bitter feud with then chief minister Amarinder Singh. The infighting in the Punjab Congress also saw Singh resign as the chief minister.
However, Sidhu later put in his papers as the Punjab unit chief of the party, igniting a fresh crisis in the states ruling party. The party high command has not made it clear yet if his resignation has been accepted. Sidhu, meanwhile, led a delegation of Congress leaders from Mohali to Lakhimpur Kehri to meet the families of farmers who were killed in violence in the Uttar Pradesh district on October 3. He met the families Friday. The Congress has been attacking the government over the issue.
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