Shimla, May 31: Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Tuesday won the first round of his ongoing tussle with state party chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu with the Congress deciding to postpone its organizational elections in the state until the conclusion of Assembly polls later this year.
Singh is further learnt to have sought the replacement of Sukhu ahead of state elections citing the need for organizational efficiency and coordination. The ball is now in the court of Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
Virbhadra Singh is learnt to have asked for change of Himachal Pradesh Congress president in the presence of AICC general secretary for the state Ambika Soni and party president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel in a meeting.
Soni had told “all Himachal organization matters were discussed at the meeting with the Chief Minister and Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu.” The party had on Monday told the warring leaders to find meeting ground in party’s interest but Singh’s demand for Sukhu’s replacement stays.
Admitting that Virbhadra Singh had indeed asked for an overhaul of state unit leadership, Congress sources said, “It is not essential that everything that is demanded is agreed upon. A number of factors are to be weighed in. Let us see.
”Himachal is one of the states where restructuring of Congress organization is due along with Madhya Pradesh. Ambika Soni too had recently asked to be relieved of Himachal charge on account of her ill health. It remains to be seen whether the party brings in a new team three months ahead of elections in the hill state.
Meanwhile, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday took a decision to postpone party’s organizational elections in poll-bound Himachal and Gujarat at a meeting with AICC general secretaries for the two states, Soni and Ashok Gehlot, and head of Congress Election Authority Bhubeneshwar Kalita.
Internal election postponement is also under consideration for northeastern states due for the Assembly polls. Asked if such postponement would not be a violation of the promise Congress has made to the Election Commission to conclude its overdue organizational polls by December 31 this year, a senior Congress leader said, “There is a provision in the Congress Constitution saying a certain proportion of the total membership has to poll and not essentially 100 per cent of the membership has to poll.
”Congress organisational elections were due in 2015 and the party has been seeking extensions from the EC to conclude the process. As per this year’s schedule, all Congress state units had to finish the internal polling process by October 15, which is clashing with the election schedule in some states like Himachal and Gujarat.
Source Tribune India