A day after the Congress omitted his name from its list of star campaigners for the upcoming Punjab polls, senior party leader Manish Tewari on Saturday said he would have been "pleasantly surprised" if he had been included.
The Congress on Friday released a list of 30 star campaigners for the February 20 Punjab Assembly elections and left out names of Tewari and Ghulam Nabi Azad, who are among the prominent members of the 'G-23' leaders who had written to the party leadership seeking an organisational overhaul.
However, some other members of the 'G-23' such as Anand Sharma and Bhupinder Singh Hooda were included in the list. "I would have been pleasantly surprised if it would have been the other way around. The reasons are also no state secret," Tewari said on Twitter, tagging a news report about the Congress' decision to drop him and Azad from its star campaigners' list.
Earlier, the Congress MP from Anandpur Sahib tweeted photos of himself campaigning in Punjab's Kharar and other areas in his constituency in support of Congress candidates. Abhijit Mukherjee, Trinamool Congress leader and son of ex-president Pranab Mukherjee, came out in Tewari's support and said such narrow-minded steps will never help the Congress win elections.
"Sad state of affairs in @INCPunjab as they exclude a prominent senior congress leader, MP from Punjab & former minister @ManishTewari Ji from the list of star campaigners in poll bound Punjab," Mukherjee tweeted.
He said, "Such narrow minded steps will never help Congress to win elections!" Replying to Mukherjee, a former Congress MP, Tewari said, "I would have been surprised if it would have been the other way around. The reasons have been a Public Affair now for quite a while @ABHIJIT_LS Da."
Mukherjee wrote back, saying, "Brother @ManishTewari Ji, our people with their votes are the only answer to such bipartisan mentality!" "Come what may, you shall always remain indomitable! You have always been one of the finest parliamentarians i have seen & that has been my late father's opinion too," he said.
Besides Sharma and Hooda, Congress' list of star campaigners for the Punjab Assembly elections includes party president Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior leader Rahul Gandhi.
The list also includes Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and party state unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
With inputs from PTI.