Himachal crisis: Congress top brass caught off guard again - The Tribune India

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Himachal crisis

Congress top brass caught off guard again

Himachal crisis

PTI file photo



THE ruling Congress’ shock defeat in the Rajya Sabha poll in Himachal Pradesh, courtesy of cross-voting by six party MLAs, has put the Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led state government in jeopardy. Congress candidate Abhishek Manu Singhvi lost to BJP nominee Harsh Mahajan despite the grand old party’s majority in the Vidhan Sabha. The crisis in the hill state has a sense of déjà vu about it: the Congress high command has again failed to address infighting and simmering discontent among party MLAs. Such rank apathy had brought about the fall of the Kamal Nath government in Madhya Pradesh in 2020; a year before that, the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) dispensation had collapsed in Karnataka after defections. In both cases, the BJP was the gainer.

The Congress top brass apparently assumed that the Rajya Sabha poll in HP would be a cakewalk. Exuding overconfidence, it simply had no strategy to pacify disgruntled legislators well in time and keep the flock together. The fact that Vikramaditya Singh, son of former CM Virbhadra Singh and state Congress chief Pratibha Singh, had to be pacified after he decided to step down as a minister shows that there are serious intra-party differences. True to form, the BJP is cashing in on these vulnerabilities in the rival camp.

Himachal is the only northern state where the Congress is in power, having done well to oust the BJP in December 2022. However, barely 15 months later, it is struggling to protect the mandate given by the electorate. The high command has promised to take tough steps in the party’s interest. It’s not new for the Congress to close the stable door after the horse has bolted. Pre-emptive moves should have been made to prevent things from coming to such a pass. It will need a lot of firefighting to keep the Sukhu government in power.

#BJP #Congress #Rajya Sabha #Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu


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