Close on the heels of the meeting of Congress MLAs and ministers with President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday over the CBI raids against Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, chinks seem to have developed in the party over the show of strength in Delhi.
On Friday, while the ministers, MLAs, chairmen/vice-chairmen of boards and corporations went to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, some of the MLAs skipped the meeting at 10 Janpath.
Sources said Sonia met the visitors briefly and when PCC president Sukhwinder Sukhu tried to explain to her as how the party was agitated over the CBI raids against the Chief Minister, she moved on to speak to the next member of the delegation.
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Two Chief Parliamentary Secretaries Rajesh Dharmani and Rohit Thakur, MLA Sohan Lal, Transport Minister G S Bali and two other MLAs were not part of the group that met Sonia.
“Since the meeting with the Congress chief was fixed late, some of us had already left and went ahead with our individual plans. We are certainly with the party,” said an MLA, who did not attend the meeting.
Sources said a group of MLAs and two ministers met Union Agriculture Minister Birender Singh on Thursday. Another group called on party’s deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma on Friday.
Before meeting Sonia on Friday, some leaders had sought separate appointments. Vidya Stokes met the Congress president on Thursday and was also a part of the delegation on Friday.
Industries Minister Mukesh Agnihotri, who was a key player to organise the delegation to Delhi and submit a memorandum, said there were only few MLAs who could not make it to the meeting with the Congress president.
“We have explained everything to Sonia Gandhi and other AICC leaders on the CBI raids, which was an act of political vendetta to defame the sixth time chief minister ahead of Bihar polls,” he said.
The rebels said the Congress president had no clear message. “She has not passed any direction as par as the impression we gathered from 10 Janpath,” said a sitting MLA.
Earlier in Shimla, the Congress Legislature Party, PCC and cabinet ministers have thrown their weight behind Virbhadra and criticised the Centre of trying to create instability in the state and misusing central agencies like CBI to fabricate cases against the Chief Minister.