The Congress party has a peculiar history of nominating public losers as its state chief to states going to the polls, who invariably finger the known chief minister candidates, thus getting the boot in the state. The Bharatiya Janata Party has been going home happily at the Congress mess.
The Congress party is set to repeat its mistake in Himachal Pradesh by pitching its state President Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, a two-time MLA against the might of chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
The longest serving Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Virbhadra Singh is going to contest elections for the 7th term as Chief Minister against the BJP and his party colleague but arch rival Sukhu.
Taking Sukhu lightly, 87 year-old Singh, has been in power for around 55 years, had once remarked, “I remember everything, even the date when Sukhu took birth.” Virbhadra is more popular in the state and has contested elections almost single-handedly.
But Sukhu is not taking things lying down. According to The Correspondent, Sukhu and his team recently manipulated their six MLAs who wrote a letter to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for removal of CM Virbhadra.
In a recent municipal election in Shimla, the Congress lost and HPCC called a meeting to discuss party’s roadmap for the forthcoming assembly elections. Incidently, Virbahdra was not invited. Three cabinet ministers who were present at the meeting blatantly praised the organisational skills of Sukhu.
Virbhadra pulled up Sukhu and commented that the Congress as organization was less visible in the State. Sukhu promptly commented, “As far as the CM’s comment that organisation is not visible in the state, I would like to clarify that the unit at the district, block and booth level not only exist, but are functioning towards improving the party’s prospect in elections. Had we won three seats of the four falling in CM’s Shimla rural segment, we would have formed the municipal corporation House.”
The high command however snubbed Sukhu’s attempt to unseat the CM and that Virbahdra Singh would not be changed.
Both the parties were summoned to Delhi before the new General Secretary of AICC in charge of the poll bound state Sushil Kumar Shinde, who said unity was the way forward but ruled out any changes in the leadership in Himachal Pradesh.
Shinde took charge in the presence of Virbhadra Singh, AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma and PCC chief Sukhu, besides a large number of Congressmen from the state.
He will hold a meeting of the state Congress committee in Shimla in August and will chalk out the further course of action. All party MLAs and district Congress chiefs will be present during this meeting.
Asked about serious dissension within the Himachal Congress, he said, “We will sort that out” and claimed that all party leaders would unite and together fight to strengthen the party.
“Elections are just four months ahead. I know a lot of people and all like the CM, PCC chief, Anand Sharma and others have attended my taking over. This means that we all want to help strengthen the Congress. In the coming elections, we will unite going forward,” he said.
Asked if the party will go to polls with the present leadership, he said, “Yes, yes. There will be no changes.” On whether there will be any changes in the party set up, he said, “At the moment I do not know about the changes in the party.”
On differences within, he said, “I’ll sort that out. Earlier too, there have been problems between Sukh Ram and Virbhadra Singh. They are all Congressmen and will all unite when there is need. It is need of the time when we will all unite and work for the party’s victory”.