Options open in Himachal, party first, not individuals: Congress top brass : The Tribune India

Join Whatsapp Channel

Options open in Himachal, party first, not individuals: Congress top brass

Tough stance amid calls to replace Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu

Options open in Himachal, party first, not individuals: Congress top brass

Hit by a massive political turbulence in Himachal, a beleaguered Congress on Wednesday said saving the government was its top priority and all options were open to achieve it. - File photo



Tribune News Service

Aditi Tandon

New Delhi, February 28

Hit by a massive political turbulence in Himachal, a beleaguered Congress on Wednesday said saving the government was its top priority and all options were open to achieve it.

Party president Mallikarjun Kharge has instructed three observers appointed for crisis management in the state — former CMs Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Bhupesh Baghel and sitting Karnataka Deputy CM DK Shivakumar — to engage all party MLAs and recommend a solution “keeping party’s interests supreme”. A final call will be taken based on the observers’ report to be presented “soon as possible”.

“We will not hesitate in taking tough decisions should the need arise,” party general secretary Jairam Ramesh said amid calls from a section of Congress lawmakers to replace Sukhu.

Importantly, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, keeping a close watch on the situation, attacked the BJP for attempting to “crush the mandate Himachal gave to the Congress in December 2022 and pushing the state into a political disaster while refusing to help it during a natural disaster last year".

"In democracy, people have the right to choose their government. Himachal exercised that right and installed a Congress government with a clear majority. But the BJP wants to crush this right of the people of Himachal by misusing the money power, power of agencies and power of the Centre," Priyanka said.

She alleged horse-trading attempts by the BJP, "a party with 25 MLAs challenging the majority of 43 MLAs," Priyanka, who had backed Sukhu as CM when the party won the assembly poll, said. Of the 43 MLAs she mentioned, nine - six of the Congress and three Independents - continued to remain distant from the party.

To a direct question on whether Sukhu could be replaced, Jairam said while he could not prejudge what central observers would recommend in their report, "all options were open".

"The party is supreme, not individuals... If the need arises, tough decisions will have to be taken and the party will not shy away from that. Our top priority is to save the government," he said, adding the report of the observers would be guided by the "party interests supreme" principle.

Asked how things came to such a head, those privy to developments told The Tribune that top Congress leadership, including Rahul Gandhi, had been sounded of the potential consequences of fielding an outsider (Singhvi) in the RS polls.

Sources also said resentment against Sukhu had been brewing for a while. "MLAs used the first opportunity they got to register their protest by cross-voting in the RS polls and delivering a scare to the only Congress government in north India,” a party leader said, adding, “Senior HP Congress leaders Sudhir Sharma and Rajinder Rana, both among cross-voters, have been venting angst against the CM for long, but to no avail.”

A section of MLAs are learnt to have backed Deputy CM Mukesh Agnihotri as CM should the party decide to replace Sukhu. Himachal Congress chief Pratibha Singh too remains in contention.

Later in the day, Sukhu visited a temple in Shimla with 12 MLAs in tow. To reach a final decision on the way forward the central observers will need to assess how many MLAs are with which leader. The BJP is watching the developments in the Congress camp, and is said to be in touch with some MLAs of the ruling party.

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#Congress #Mallikarjun Kharge #Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu


Top News

Kerala woman cadet, part of 17-member Indian crew, on board ship seized by Iran returns home

Kerala woman cadet, part of 17-member Indian crew, on board ship seized by Iran returns home

India's mission in Tehran is in touch with 16 other crew mem...

Supreme Court reserves verdict on pleas seeking cross-verification of votes cast using EVMs with VVPAT

Supreme Court reserves verdict on pleas seeking cross-verification of votes cast using EVMs with VVPAT

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta reserve...

Nestle adds sugar to baby food sold in India but not in Europe

Nestle adds sugar to baby food sold in India but not in Europe: Study

Such products are sugar-free in the United Kingdom, Germany,...

Kejriwal eating food high in sugar despite Type 2 diabetes to make grounds for bail, ED tells court

Kejriwal eating food high in sugar despite Type 2 diabetes to make grounds for bail, ED tells court

Kejriwal has moved the court seeking permission to consult h...

Ludhiana court awards death penalty to woman for burying alive toddler

Ludhiana court awards death penalty to woman for burying alive toddler

An old rivalry with the victim's family was the cause behind...


Cities

View All