Giving in to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s demand, the Congress high command Tuesday decided to defer the party’s ongoing organisational polls — a move which PCC president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu had initially opposed. After the two leaders met AICC general Secretary Ambika Soni in Delhi on Monday to resolve their differences,the party took a decision to exempt the poll-bound state from the organisational polls.
Party insiders say that the chief minister, besides seeking postponement of party polls, had also raised the demand for replacing Sukhu with one of his loyalists, apparently to gain his dominance in the party, ahead of the polls and tickets distribution. To get the elections postponed, Virbhadra Singh had also backed a signature drive for MLAs and PCC officers that left Sukhu isolated on the move. It was only during Monday’s meeting in presence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmad Patel , Sukhu agreed to the chief minister’s suggestion .
The postponement of the party polls in the election-bound state is , however, not unusual for the Congress, admits a senior MLA. This had been the precedent even before but since PCC president was keen to see through the party polls, the party was left divided . Virbhadra Singh has hailed the party’s decision claiming he would be able to fully focus on the state assembly polls, instead of wasting time on party elections.
Meanwhile, PCC president Sukhwinder Sukhu met AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi Tuesday in Delhi and briefed him about his plans running up to the polls in the state later this year.