Shimla: Nervous as the Virbhadra Singh government is about the parliamentary election results, a chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) putting in his papers, a Damocles sword hanging over the chief minister’s head to show performance in the face of adversity and an aggressive opposition baying for the government scalp have only deepened the political crisis in the state.
Two time MLA Rajesh Dharmani, feeling suffocated at being accommodated as a chief parliamentary secretary attached to the forest ministry but with no work, tendered his resignation on Saturday.
He had resigned in October last year also but had withdrawn it on the assurance that his services would be appropriately utilized. However, the young and upright legislator had surrendered his official car and has not availed the spacious government accommodation that is provided as one of the perks of being a CPS.
“CPS is like a toy gun. No contribution for system improvement,” Dharmani cited as reasons his resignation.
The resignation has only added to the uncertainty about the fate of the octogenarian Virbhadra led government as all wait with a bated breath for the results of the four Lok Sabha seats in the state on May 16.
“Not taking expelled congressmen back into the party at a time of crucial elections have hurt us,” Virbhadra told media persons last Thursday in office after a long drawn election campaign.
The rift between the chief ministers camp and that of party president Sukhvinder Sukku was out in the open when the former alleged that a pick and choose policy was adopted in taking rebels back into the party fold.
Raising the pitch of the elections, opposition leader Prem Kumar Dhumal during the campaign had stated that with the formation of a BJP led NDA government in Delhi, the Congress government in Himachal will collapse under its own weight.
In a house of 68, a Congress government is hanging in there with 36 members, which includes speaker Brij Bihari Butail.
A bye-election for the Sujjanpur Tira assembly seat, that Rajinder Rana quit as an independent to fight the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat on a congress ticket, is being keenly watched. Rana wife is the congress candidate for bye-election, the results for which would also be declared on May 16.
Dharmani quitting his position has only brought attention to the simmering dissidence in the Congress.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s diktat to party chief minister’s to perform in the hard contested poll or be prepared for consequences should congress candidates lose, is giving many Virbhadra loyalists nightmares.
One senior Congressman from the Virbhadra camp on conditions of anonymity said, “The Modi factor has loomed large over this campaign. If congress is not able to win 2 of the four seats contested, the clamor for change in leadership is bound to get louder.”