Shimla: Threatened by an imminent mid-term poll call from opposition leader Prem Kumar Dhumal, congress ministers came out with blazing guns questioning the authority he held to meddle in the state affairs where a majority government was being led by chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
In a joint communiqué senior minister Vidya Stokes, GS Bali and Anil Sharma denounced the former chief ministers’ statements asking for a change in leadership of a congress government.
Questioning the authority with which he had suggested a midterm poll in the state, the ministers asked Dhumal to stop threatening the Congress government.
“He is behaving as if he is above the constitution,” the ministers stated. “Dhumal need not worry about the congress party for it had faced similar situations earlier also and staged a strong come-back every time.”
De-linking the rout the party suffered in the Lok Sabha poll where Congress candidates, which included chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh lost to BJP candidates, the ministers held that the poll results were not a referendum on the performance of the state government.
“It was a Modi wave that swept through the country and Dhumal or BJP in Himachal Pradesh could not take credit for it,” the ministers say adding, “during the campaign, Dhumal remained confined to Hamirpur from where his son was contesting.”
They said that the opposition leader was targeting Virbhadra Singh out of vengeance and personal vendetta as he was not able to reconcile the defeat suffered at his hands in the last assembly elections.
Dhumal is nurturing an ambition of somehow usurping power by destabilising the popularly elected government but his dreams would not materialize, Stokes, Bali and Sharma state.
In the face of mounting dissidence in the congress party, the ministers however, denied any dissent saying all such speculations were the concoctions of Dhumal.
“The Congress government is strong and would complete its full term,” the claimed.
In a house of 68, the congress has a majority of 36 MLAs and is backed by 4 independents. Fallout of the congress losing out to BJP in 59 assembly segments in the recently concluded Lok Sabha poll has mounted trouble for the Virbhadra government as at least two congress legislators Rajesh Dharmani and Asha Kumari are vocal about their differences with the state leadership.