Dismissing as "completely unfounded" the speculation that he was reluctant to contest from Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat, I&B Minister Manish Tewari said he had already conveyed to Congress leadership about his willingness to be fielded from the constituency.
"It is absolutely erroneous, the speculation was completely unfounded. It was devoid of any merit. I had contested in 2004 in Ludhiana. I lost by a narrow margin. I worked in the constituency for five years, won in 2009 by the highest margin and have conveyed it to the leadership that I am more than willing, more than prepared, because I have worked in my constituency to re-contest from Ludhiana," he said.
Tewari said while it was for his party's Central Election Committee to decide, he was "unambiguously "clear in his mind that he wanted to contest from Ludhiana.
The I&B Minister said he felt that not just in his case but that of other senior Congress leaders, the speculation that there was unwillingness to contest was unfounded.
Asked whether he still held the view that Congress should not field tainted candidates, he said the party had maintained a consistent line on the issue.
"Whenever there was even a whisper of an allegation, the Congress party has acted. People have had to resign, so therefore given the totality of those circumstances, there was a certain articulation which I thought was a logical extension of what we have been doing over the past five years," he said.
He added these decisions are taken by the Central Election Committee of the party where senior leaders take decisions in the best interest of the party.
"All of us are bound by their decisions", Tewari said.