In ajolt to the Virbhadra camp,Himachal Pradesh Congress president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu has refused to allow those leaders to return to the party,who either have contested against official candidates in the 2012 Assembly polls or are facing disciplinary proceedings for anti-party activities.
According to sources,after Chief Minister Virbhadra Singhs wife Pratibha Singh filed her nomination papers for Mandi Lok Sabha bypoll,more than a dozen Congress leaders mainly from Mandi and Kullu districts both part of the Mandi constituency had tried to put pressure on the party for their re-entry.
Their names have reportedly been forwarded to the state party unit on the pretext that some of these leaders have major influence in the area and thus,their support for Pratibha was crucial. According to sources,a few of these leaders have already been promised government positions,including posts of chairmen and vice-chairmen of boards and corporations,besides being inducted as the chief ministers non-political aides.
When contacted,Sukhu confirmed that a request has been received from Congress leaders that the suspensions of the erring leaders are revoked and they are re-admitted to the party in the wake of the Mandi bypoll. I have not considered the request. Any such decision,if so warranted,will be taken after the Mandi bypoll and based on the merit of each case, he added.
The state unit,only a month ago,had taken the credit of slapping showcause notices on 85 leaders and suspending 30 others. Majority of those facing disciplinary proceedings happen to be Virbhadra loyalists.
Making Mandi bypoll the pretext,some black sheep of the Congress have been trying to market themselves as well wishers of the party. But they have damaged the partys prospects of a landslide win in the 2102 Assembly elections. Had these leaders helped the official candidates at that time,the party would have got 45 seats in the polls. Isnt this opportunistic politics? a sitting minister said.