The Congress on Saturday included some of the leaders who had written to party president Sonia Gandhi demanding an organisational haul as its star campaigners for Bihar elections starting October 28. In its list of 30 star campaigners for the first phase of Bihar assembly polls on October 28, the party has named Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
It has also included Ghulam Nabi Azad and Raj Babbar who were among the group of 23 letter-writers. Sachin Pilot, who raised a banner of revolt against Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, has also been named a star campaigner for Bihar elections.
Sources said Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh are unlikely to campaign physically and may address virtual rallies for the upcoming assembly polls. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and former actor and ex-MP Shatrughan Sinha are also on the list which has been sent to the Election Commission.
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Congress chief ministers Ashok Gehlot, Amarinder Singh and Bhupesh Baghel and poet Imran Pratapgarhi are also among the party's star campaigners. Senior Congress leaders Tariq Anwar, Randeep Surjewala, Shakeel Ahmed, Sachin Pilot and Kirti Azad will be campaigning for party candidates.
Congress in-charge for Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil, Bihar Congress chief Madan Mohan Jha and legislature party leader Sadanand Singh are also among the star campaigners. The second phase of Bihar polls is on November 3 and the third on November 7, while counting of votes will take place on November 10.
Sources said the party is grappling with its candidates selections due to such compulsions as it has been given some such seats where the party has never won in many years. The party has so far declared 21 candidates in its first list for the first phase of the Bihar elections starting October 28.
The BJP and the JDU already have a head start as they have declared most of its candidates and the Congress is lagging behind. The sources said the party’s Central Election Commission headed by Sonia Gandhi is likely to meet on October 12 to finalise its candidates.
Among the leaders who attended Saturday’s screening committee meeting included the panel chief Avinash Pande, AICC in-charge for Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil, Bihar Congress chief Madan Mohan Jha and CLP leader Sadanand Singh.