Shimla, June 6: Four months to go for Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls, the Congress is still weighing whether to overhaul its state organisation and if yes, with whom.
A cloud of suspense continues to hover over the future of AICC general secretary in-charge of the state Ambika Soni and Himachal Congress president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu. While Soni has voluntarily asked to be relieved of her charge on health grounds which prevents her from travelling, Sukhu’s ouster is being sought by a majority of Himachal Congress MLAs led by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and by more than half of the state’s office-bearers.
At his last meeting with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Virbhadra Singh is learnt to have categorically asked for Sukhu’s replacement if the party wanted victory in the state.
There is, however, no word on Himachal from the AICC leadership which acted fast to announce a new team led by general secretary Ashok Gehlot in Gujarat that goes to the polls after Himachal. With indecision plaguing the state Congress affairs, MLAs and cadres are becoming increasingly restive with a senior leader asking, “Are we even serious about fighting this election?
The Congress Legislature Party recently resolved that the party would go to the polls under Virbhadra Singh’s leadership. The CM and most MLAs have been seeking changes to the local organisation. When everyone agrees that Virbhadra Singh will lead the party, why is there disagreement on his strategy to go forward, including replacing Himachal Congress president?”
A section of Himachal Congress MLAs feel that delayed decision-making was putting the BJP at a natural edge in Himachal. “One doesn’t know whether Ambika Soni will continue as AICC general secretary or go, whether the state chief will stay or go? The CM alone is touring the state with no party structure to aid him. The CM’s differences with Sukhu are irreparable. Contrast this with the BJP’s aggression. BJP leaders are literally flowing into Himachal. Their newly appointed state chief has toured all districts and will now visit blocks. We are still awaiting our election team,” a Congress MLA from Himachal said.
Some Himachal Congress seniors say the leadership should look at the Punjab example where the party began early and won. “Early decision-making enables battle readiness. Then you go into the battlefield armed with gear and strategy.
Suspense over Soni, Sukhu
- A cloud of suspense continues to hover over the future of AICC general secretary in-charge of the state Ambika Soni and HPCC president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu
- While Soni has voluntarily asked to be relieved of her charge on health grounds, Sukhu’s ouster is being sought by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh
- There is no word on Himachal from the AICC leadership
Source: Tribune India