Three days after his meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Sunday made a fresh attack against PCC president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu for running the party through a nominated team of his hand-picked people. He also issued a veiled threat of ‘sitting at home’ if the Congress was against him leading the party in the forthcoming Assembly polls.
Claiming that it was up to the high command to decide if he would lead the party or contest elections, he said: “If the party will require my services, I will undoubtedly be the first in the row to serve. If they think that there can be a better choice than me, I will still serve my people anyway.” Addressing a public meeting at Patlandar in Hamirpur district, the CM added: “I have served Congress for 55 long years and I will lead from the front to make Congress party win the elections. I may or may not contest elections, but will not show my back to the party and together we all can make it to next Assembly.” Virbhadra Singh also called upon party cadre to join hands to fight the BJP.
Taking on state Congress chief Sukhvinder Sukhu for “nominating” people of his choice to Congress committees, he said: “To nominate people to higher posts in various Congress committees was like ignoring all constitutional rights of the party. There is a need to elect young people at the block level and for Pradesh Congress Committees. The constitution of the party needs to be reorganised.” Last week, Virbhadra had met Sonia Gandhi and informed her about the decision of not contesting elections if Sukhu stayed on as PCC president. Later on return he had again made it clear that he may or may not contest the polls.
Attacking the BJP, Virbhadra accused the opposition of spoiling the political atmosphere in the state. He added that unlike the BJP, the Congress does not believe in mud slinging and character assassination. Claiming that few incidents didn’t mean that law and order in the state had collapsed, he drew a parallel with BJP-ruled Haryana to drive home his point. He also blamed the BJP, along with the CPM, of politicising the Shimla rape and murder case, and indulging in unruly protests. No government can tolerate this type of violence, he said.
Interacting with the media later, the Chief Minister said that he would file a defamation suit against those who were trying to levelling allegations against him in the rape and murder case. Let the CBI deal with it and bring the real culprits to book, he said. He rejected the demand for his resignation on the issue. About ticket distribution, he said that ticket will be given out on merit.