In its first meeting after Congress’s defeat in Shimla Municipal polls, the Pradesh Congress Committee discussed party’s roadmap for the forthcoming Assembly polls without the CM Virbhadra Singh. The Chief Minister stayed busy with day’s official engagements, including inauguration of a new branch of the state co-operative bank at Mashobra.
PCC president Sukhwinder Sukhu was quick to claim that Chief Minister was not an invitee to the PCC meeting. However, three Cabinet ministers — Vidya Stokes, Sujan Singh Pathania and Col (retd) Dhani Ram Shandil reached party office for the meeting. A party press release later said the state executive discussed the party’s roadmap for the state assembly elections — Mission Repeat 2017.
The PCC chief and the CM have been at logger heads with despite efforts of the party high command for a truce. Recent municipal poll results also widened the differences between the two. After Congress’s loss, Virbhadra, who had campaigned for three days in Shimla, blamed party’s poor show on the oraganisational failure.
On Tuesday, party adopted two resolutions — one to praise Sukhu for energising party cadres and second to praise the CM.
It also announced a three-phase ‘Congress Path Yatra’ from July 18 to August 21, which will cover districts, blocks and panchayats across the state to counter BJP’s ‘Parivartan Rath Yatra’.
Ironically, a few days back, state Youth Congress President and CM’s son, Vikramaditya Singh, had announced Congress Vikas Yatra to counter BJP’s yatra plans. Sukhu said that the ‘path yatra’ will have its first phase from July 18 to 24, followed by a second phase from August 1 to 7 and third between August 15 to 21. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will wrap-up the yatra on August 21, he said.
He claimed that party has taken feed-back of the office-bearers and other leaders on party’s poll strategy and took a consensus decision on countering the BJP’s yatra.