Months ahead of Assembly elections, a major trouble is brewing in Himachal Pradesh Congress with the factional feud between Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and state Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu taking a new turn. The Chief Minister, who has been demanding Sukhu’s ouster, has now conveyed to the Congress high command that he will not contest the elections in a move being seen as muscle-flexing on his part.
Even as the Sukhu camp has claimed that the Chief Minister is indulging in pressure tactics, it is well aware that the high command has succumbed to such tactics by Captain Amarinder Singh in the run-up to Assembly elections in Punjab.
Virbhadra Singh, a six-time CM, disclosed his decision not to contest and lead the party in the elections to MLAs at a Congress Legislature Party last week. The CLP then passed a resolution seeking the intervention of the high command. It said a majority of the MLAs too were of the “opinion that they will also not contest the elections in case Singh does not contest and lead the party from the front”.
“It came as a big surprise and shock to all the members when Virbhadra Singh announced that he has decided that he will not be contesting the forthcoming assembly election nor he will be leading the party in the elections. He further said he has already apprised the party high command about his decision,” the resolution said.
“Despite repeated requests by the members, he did not reveal as what has transpired between him and the high command. He was very emotional but firm that he would not re-consider his decision. Under the present circumstances, the CLP feels the high command should intervene and help sort out the matter at the earliest keeping that Singh is the tallest and the only acceptable leader of the state who is capable of leading the Congress party to victory,” it said. Most of the MLAs are Virbhadra’s loyalists.
Asking the high command to intervene at the earliest, the CLP resolution said “every passing minute is fatal to the party and this uncertainty is causing a huge damage.”
“The CLP members unanimously and strongly feel that without the leadership of Singh, it would be impossible to expect the victory of the party anywhere in the state as he has done so much during the past five years in each and every constituency and he has a vast following in the state. There will be a total void at this criticial juncture without his presence. Therefore, we would like to request the high command to take stock of this extreme situation and take a final call to sort out this issue at the earliest,” it said