Congress names star campaigners for 1st phase of West Bengal polls; G-23 leaders missing

NEW DELHI: Top Congress leaders including Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and Kapil Sibal of the ‘group of 23′ have not been named in the party’s list of star campaigners for the first phase of assembly polls in West Bengal despite their willingness to campaign.

The G-23 leaders, who had written to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in August last year demanding organisational overhaul, had expressed their desire to canvass for the party in the upcoming elections.

However, only two from among the G-23 — Jitin Prasada and Akhilesh Prasad Singh — have been included as the party named 30 star campaigners.

Prasada is the in-charge of party affairs in West Bengal and Akhilesh Prasad Singh is a Rajya Sabha MP.

Party chief Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, ex-Congress chief Rahul Gandhi have been named as star campaigners, alongside AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, and chief ministers Ashok Gehlot, Amarinder Singh and Bhupesh Baghel.

Besides them, former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath, West Bengal chief of the party Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury and senior leaders B K Hari Prasad, Salman Khurshid, Sachin Pilot, Randeep Singh Surjewala, R P N Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu are also in the list.

Some prominent youth leaders who will campaign for the party as star campaigners in West Bengal include Deepender Hooda, Abhijeet Mukherjee, Jaiveer Shergill, Pawan Khera and Mohd Azharuddin.

Azad had recently said that he along with his colleagues would campaign for the party in the upcoming assembly elections, wherever asked by the party or individually by candidates.

He had said that ensuring the victory of Congress, and the BJP’s defeat, was their top priority.

Asked about some prominent Congressmen missing in the star campaigners’ list, party spokesperson Pawan Khera said there are different phases of elections and some more names would figure in other lists for West Bengal and other states.