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Ending Speculation, Congress Bets On Manish Tewari From Chandigarh LS Seat; Pawan Bansal Loses Age War


Finally, the Indian National Congress has bet its money on a younger candidate for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections 2024 from Chandigarh constituency, apparently to counter BJP’s recent decision to make a generational shift in naming its nominee.

Manish Tewari, sitting Congress member of Parliament from adjoining Anandpur Sahib constituency in Punjab and former Union minister, found his name on top of a fresh list of 16 party candidates for the Lok Sabha elections from Chandigarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha released by the party on Saturday, 13.04.2024.

Those named from Himachal Pradesh are state cabinet minister and former Congress stalwart late Virbhadra Singh’s son Vikramaditya Singh from Mandi and Vinod Sultanpuri from Shimla (SC).

Manish Tewari, who hails from Chandigarh, has got the party ticket at the expense of another former Union minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who has represented the constituency in the Lok Sabha four times since 1991, but lost the last two elections consecutively in 2014 and 2019 to star candidate Kirron Kher, the sitting MP, who has for the last few years been under treatment for cancer. She is now 71 years old.

Despite these two reverses,  Pawan Kumar Bansal (75) was widely believed to be the party’s top choice once again, considering his seniority and local popularity. He is also learnt to have been the choice of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which is supporting the Congress in the Chandigarh elections as part of a pact which saw the Congress supporting AAP’s successful mayoral election bid in the Municipal Corporation Chandigarh.

But Manish Tewari’s persistent lobbying to get the party ticket from Chandigarh which he had been indulging in for years, and the BJP declaring a younger candidate and former state party president for 10 years Sanjay Tandon (60) as its candidate, appear to have weighed on the party high command while taking the final decision.

Two years younger to Tandon, Manish Tewari has been a two time MP – from Ludhiana (2009-2014) and Anandpur Sahib (2019-2024) – and Union Minister of State (Independent charge) Ministry of Information & Broadcasting from 2012-2014.

Playing an active role in students’ politics from a young age, Tewari remained president of the then Congress (I) affiliated students’ body National Students Union of India (NSUI) from 1988-1993 and then president of Indian Youth Congress (I) from 1998-2000 under the patronage of Rajiv Gandhi.

Having done his schooling from St John’s High School, Sector 26, Chandigarh and Govt. Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, Chandigarh, he graduated in Arts from DAV College, Sector 10, Chandigarh. He later did his Bachelors of Laws from University of Delhi and is a practicing lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.

He has authored several books, including the last one titled ’10 Flash Points: 20 years – National Security Situations That Impacted India’.

His father VN Tewari, an author and professor of Punjab language at Panjab University, Chandigarh, was killed by militants in 1984 while on a walk in Sector 24 of Chandigarh. His mother late Dr Amrit Tewari retired as Professor and head of Department of Dentistry at the prestigious Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh.

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