Shimla: In a fresh development which could spell more trouble to the faction riddled Congress party in Himachal Pradesh, five times ex Chief Minister and former Union Minister today resigned from all major party posts. Virbhadra Singh is the chairman of the campaign and manifesto committee of the party and was supposed to attend a strategy and campaigning meeting on Friday in Shimla.
Rumors were strife today evening that the ‘Raja’ could go on his own in the ensuing assembly elections in the state by floating a regional party or aligning with the third front in the state comprising of BJP rebels and the Communist parties.
Sources close to the development said that Virbhadra Singh was unhappy with his non inclusion in the screening committee formed yesterday to finalise the candidates for the elections. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was appointed head of the screening panel along with Virbhadra’s bete noire PCC Chief Kaul Singh Thakur and leader of Congress in assembly Vidya Stokes as members.
Another point which Virbhadra Singh has not taken lightly is of parachuting of Union Minister Anand Sharma into state politics. While Anand Sharma was made head of the Congress committee for Himachal Pradesh elections, Virbhadra Singh was made Chairman of campaign and manifesto committee of the party. Virbhadra was reportedly unhappy with this arrangement as he had many times openly expressed his displeasure at working under Sharma whom he considered many years junior in politics.
Moreover Virbhadra Singh wanted the Congress high command to declare him Chief Minister candidate for the forth coming assembly elections in the state.
With Virbhadra’s resignation, hectic developments could be seen within the Congress party. Efforts were stepped up to persuade Singh to take back his resignation. Being a five time Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh is the biggest vote catcher for the Congress in the state. He proved his mettle in the 2009 parliamentary elections when he won the lone Mandi parliamentary seat for the Congress with record margin against all odds as Congress was routed in the elections then.
Can Congress afford to loose Virbhadra Singh just before the elections? There is hardly any leader in the Congress who can be termed as a state leader and has influence outside his constituency.
By going alone and aligning with BJP rebels in the state Virbhadra can surely tilt the applecart for both Congress and the BJP in the next assembly elections.
Watch this space as more political drama unfolds in the next few days!