Why Manish Tewari could replace Jyotiraditya Scindia for Rahul Gandhi in Parliament

Two men stand out in the list as top contenders: Shashi Tharoor, MP from Thiruvananthapuram, and Manish Tewari, MP from Anandpur Sahib.

 |  3-minute read |   17-06-2019
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Of late, when Congress president Rahul Gandhi used to speak in Parliament, it was former Guna MP Jyotiraditya Scindia who acted as his shield and cover. Scindia was seen by Gandhi's side in Parliament during the 15th and 16th Lok Sabha. He would get up and ask others who tried to heckle Gandhi during his speeches to calm down. In the face of loud shouts and hooting, when Gandhi would pause for order to return, Scindia would raise his voice, asking members to let the Gandhi scion speak.

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rahul-690_061719024750.jpgJyotiraditya Scindia was Rahul Gandhi's support in Parliament. The Congress would miss him the most during the 17th Lok Sabha. (Photos: PTI)

During the 17th Lok Sabha, Gandhi would find Scindia's support missing because the 48-year-old Congress lost the Congress citadel of Guna to BJP's Krishna Pal Yadav. This was only the third time a member of the royal family of Gwalior has lost a poll from anywhere.

So who would be Gandhi's right hand man in Parliament when he returns from his rumoured break to attend the session underway?

The Congress has won all of 52 seats in the 17th Lok Sabha elections.

Two men stand out in the list as top contenders — Shashi Tharoor, MP from Thiruvananthapuram, and Manish Tewari, MP from Anandpur Sahib.

While Tharoor is a known face, he has enough clout and charisma to overshadow Rahul Gandhi in Parliament. Also, Tharoor may not be very comfortable doing the job. There are already rumours saying that Gandhi wants to project himself as the face of Congress in Kerala by reportedly sidelining Tharoor.

gan-690_061719025339.jpgShashi Tharoor has enough charisma to possibly overshadow Rahul Gandhi. (Photo: PTI/@RahulGandhi)

Manish Tewari, on the other hand, could just be the person Gandhi may want by his side. Tewari had been a member of Parliament from Ludhiana from 2009-2014. He has served as the Information and Broadcasting minister during the UPA 2 government. He would thus know a thing or two about image management in front of the media. That could come in handy for Gandhi in Parliament. Tewari has been a spokesperson for the Congress and thus would know how to trade charges with the party's opponents if they try to heckle Gandhi.

Tewari has had a fairly long association with the Congress. It was in 1981 that he joined the party's youth wing National Students Union of India. He was seen as a strong defence line of the Congress in the joint parliamentary committee on 2G to counter the BJP onslaught.

During his pre-university days, he joined the youth wing of Congress and rose to become its all India youth president before becoming the secretary of the All India Congress Committee (HL) and was appointed as its spokesperson in 2008.

Tewari's family too had strong ties with the Congress. His grandfather too was an advocate and minister in the Congress government in Punjab. His father V N Tewari, a professor of Punjab University, was part of the freedom movement and was killed by terrorists in 1984, few months before Operation Blue Star.

Given that there is not much bench strength in the party's representation in Parliament, Tewari could well be the man for Gandhi.

Also read: The Shah of India: The challenges, and the comparisons, that now face Amit Shah

Writer

Vandana Vandana @vandana5

Author is assistant editor DailyO.

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