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Those who couldn’t keep up connect with constituencies faced defeat: Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu

Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, president of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), who won from Naduan Assembly constituency under Hamirpur district tells The Indian Express about why the party could not repeat their government despite exuding confidence before the Assembly election.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar |
December 20, 2017 12:15:20 am
Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu (Express File Photo)

Why, despite all the tall claims, couldn’t the Congress party retain power in Himachal?

We had several shortcomings. We need to understand that electors have changed now. They are more educated and aware and analyse things better. So those who could not keep up connect with constituencies faced defeat. The people also defeated the BJP’s CM face, Prem Kumar Dhumal, as he has a lack of connectivity with the constituency’s (Sujanpur) people.

Apart from this, a number of retired employees, including some senior officials who were given extensions at the Secretariat after their retirement, had hardly paid heed to public works and their lethargic attitude cost the Congress dear.

What about the former Union minister and veteran Congress leader Sukhram, who along with his son Anil Sharma had joined BJP just before the elections, in Mandi district? Did this prove a factor?

Yes. That, too, took a huge toll on the party and we could not win a single seat out of 10 Assembly constituencies. Also, the BJP managed make inroads into upper Himachal (North) side, which is not a traditional stronghold of theirs.

Don’t you think that the party High Command had totally ignored the Himachal elections and no star campaigner had come here during the campaign? Except a single trip by the then Congress Vice President and now Congress chief, Rahul Gandhi?

No. This was not the case. Rahulji had already announced that Virbhadra Singh would be the star campaigner in the state and it was evident that state leaders had to manage the campaign.

Did the differences between the two senior leaders, you and Virbhadhra, play spoilsport?

This had no role. Also, we don’t have any such differences that could mar the party prospects in the state.

Were the corruption charges against Virbhadra and his family members also a reason behind defeat? 

No. No chargesheet has been filed. And moreover our CM candidate and his son (Vikramaditya Singh) both had won election despite such allegations by the opposition.

Who is responsible for the party’s loss then?

Everyone should take responsibility. We will take feedback from party workers about the reasons for the defeat. And those who ignored organisational system such as ‘Suchi Adhyaksh,’ block presidents, were at the loss. Also, the rape-murder of a teenage girl in Kotkhai led to a massive negative campaign against the Congress.

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