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Sonia, Rahul, Manmohan in Congress list of 40 star campaigners

Chandigarh: Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice president Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, ex-cricketer Azharuddin and Bollywood star Sonu Sood, are in the list of 40 star campaigners who will campaign for the party in the Punjab assembly election.

Among the state leadership, Amarinder Singh, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president, will be electioneering for the party across the state in the next two weeks, while cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu has already announced his intention to give Parkash Singh Badal a thrashing by campaigning on his home turf of Lambi, where Amarinder is pitted against the Akali leader.

The list includes several Congress chief ministers and former chief ministers from various states, as well as a host of senior national level party leaders, a party release said here today.

These include Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot as well as former Punjab chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. Among the top AICC leaders chosen to give a boost to the Punjab Congress campaign are AICC general secretary Ambika Soni, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar and former Union ministers Sushil Kumar Shinde and Pawan Kumar Bansal.

AICC in-charge of Punjab affairs Asha Kumari is already camping in Punjab for the past several days to steer the party campaign in the state, while AICC general secretaries Digvijay Singh and Mukul Wasnik will also add their weight to the campaign in the coming days.

Rajasthan PCC president Sachin Pilot and UPCC president Raj Babbar have also been shortlisted by the Congress to strengthen the Congress campaign in the state.

The list includes several Congress MPs and former MPs, besides All India Mahila Congress president Shobha Oza.
Several senior Punjab PCC leaders who are contesting the elections are on the list of campaigners whom the party high command has directed to lend their support to the candidates in other constituencies.