Cracking the whip against dissidents in Haryana, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday removed Rajya Sabha MP and veteran leader Chaudhary Birender Singh from the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body. The party also sought an explanation from Singh — who had raised a banner of revolt against Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda — for “hob-nobbing” with BJP leaders.
The move is a signal to dissidents in the poll-bound state that the high command would not tolerate indiscipline on the eve of elections. The party has already made it clear that Hooda will lead the party into elections slated later this year, ruling out the demand for his removal by the dissident camp.
Singh, meanwhile, appeared to get closer to BJP. After meeting supporters at Uchana Kalan in Haryana, he told The Indian Express, “I came here to take the opinion of my workers regarding my future. Most of them said it was time to say goodbye to the Congress, but left the final decision to me. I will announce my future course at the August 16 rally at Kaithal where BJP president Amit Shah will be present.”
Two days ago, Singh met Shah and held parleys with BJP leaders from Haryana.
According to sources, AICC general secretary in charge of Haryana Shakeel Ahmed has written a strongly worded letter to Singh seeking an explanation. When contacted, Ahmed confirmed that he has recieved a message from Sonia about Singh’s removal from the CWC.
In his letter to Singh, Ahmed said, “It has come to our notice that you are regularly making public statements against the Congress government in Haryana which is harmful for the party.” The letter also pointed out that there were reports about him “hob-nobbing” with BJP leaders which he has neither denied nor contradicted.
It said “all these actions are detrimental to the interests of the party” and have given it a “bad name.” Singh has been asked to explain his “position” within three days and makes it clear that if he does not reply it would be construed that he “has nothing to say in this regard”.
—With inputs from ENS, Chandigarh