Virbhadra raises banner of revolt

Virbhadra Singh

Virbhadra Singh  

Wants State Congress chief removed and a free hand in managing the elections

For the Congress and Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, it seems like a five-year-old rerun with the veteran writing to party president Sonia Gandhi stating that he does not want to contest the Assembly elections likely in November-December.

Mr. Singh wanted to meet Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, but eventually met her political secretary, Ahmed Patel, to “discuss his issues”.

Sources close to the Chief Minister told The Hindu that “he wants State Congress chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu replaced by Asha Kumari and a free hand in managing the elections”. He claims to have the backing of at least 25 of the party’s 36 lawmakers.

The Congress, however, did not make an official comment. “We are not aware of this letter,” senior Congress leader Manish Tewari said.

2012 scene

In 2012, an upset Mr. Singh threatened to join the Nationalist Congress Party when Ms. Gandhi sent an emissary to placate him and “offered him a free hand in managing the elections”.

Top Congress sources said this time the situation was different from 2012 when Mr. Singh led the Congress to victory.

Apart from the anti-incumbency factor, Mr. Singh is entangled in several legal cases with regard to assets disproportionate to known sources of income and is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and the CBI.

“Also, Mr. Sukhu was appointed by Rahul Gandhi’s team and any decision on his removal has to have his approval,” a senior Congress leader said.

Rahul in Norway

Right now, Mr. Rahul Gandhi is visiting Norway at the invitation of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry and a decision on a change of guard can happen only on his return.

But Congress sources say this time the party may decide to groom next generation leaders for Himachal Pradesh instead of giving in to pressure.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 10:33:50 PM |

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