Mellowed down response to Virbhadra’s home diplomacy

Shimla: The latest efforts by former Union Minister Virbhadra Singh and his supporters to convene a meeting of Congress activists including the sitting MLAs and Party delegates in his residence could not evoke much response on today as only a handful of office bearers were spotted by the media during the press briefing in the evening.

The veteran leader who still harps on declaring the chief ministerial candidate before the elections by the party high command again demanded and hinted that majority tickets should be given to the candidates of his faction since they are in better position to win the coming Vidhan Sabha elections in the hill State.

He said the other faction in the party is full of fake Congressmen who are working against the interests of the party. They are helping Prem Kumar Dhumal to stage a comeback in the State after the next assembly elections.

Himachal Congress - Virbhadra Singh - Kaul Singh Thakur - GS BaliHe even named senior Congress leaders like PCC President Kaul Singh Thakur, AICC member Asha Kumari and Kangra leader G.S. Bali and termed them as the “B Team” of Dhumal and BJP.

He said he has strong reservations on the election of many leaders in the party organisation and he has appraised the high command of their unsure role.

He reiterated that he would not leave the party at any cost but if he is not listened to he would be excused for his further action.

However, hinting again at forming a regional party or joining any other party he said that he is still keeping his “options open” and “might even leave politics”.

At the same time he blamed the media for falsely reporting about his intention to resign from Congress or join parties like NCP or Trinamool Congress.

Party sources in the PCC and Congress headquarters have maintained that the High Command was keeping a strict watch on Singh’s move as his act of calling frequent party meetings at his private residence is weakening the organisation in the election year.

This was the precise reason that only few of his supporters and MLAs like Gangu Ram Musafir, Kuldeep Pathania, Yog Raj, Prakash Chaudhary, Mukesh Agnihotri, Sudhir and Nand Lal were present today in the otherwise highly publicised meeting.

Negligible PCC, DCC and AICC members attended the meeting since the high command is taking cognizance of such anti party moves, said a party office bearer who did not want to be named.

Virbhadra when quizzed about this said that it was a get-together to celebrate “Raksha Bandhan” festival and there was no anti party activity.

Just a few days back the 79-year old leader had celebrated his birthday in a public rally and had summoned all the MLAs and office bearers to Shimla.

A senior leader when contacted about Virbhadra’s latest moves said, “the veteran leader knows himself as to who was weakening the party and who breaches the party discipline frequently.

Should a party leader who is now facing corruption charges lead Congress in the election campaign, would give an open chance to BJP and Team Anna members to dent the congresses very campaign of throwing out a corrupt BJP government that we are taking before the people, said the PCC member.

KY Singh is a political observer and a senior journalist with an interest in a diverse set of issues related to Himachal Pradesh and other mountain states. He lives in Shimla.

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