Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Wednesday put up his defence before the Congress high command in Delhi for the party's worst-ever performance in the Lok Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh while dissidents have started regrouping back home.
Virbhadra Singh, who had steered the Congress election campaign in the state, largely attributed the party's rout to the Modi wave, even as other party leaders also cite the "misgovernance" of the state government as a factor that led to an impressive victory of the BJP candidates in all the four Lok Sabha seats in the state.
The chief minister, who left for Delhi on Tuesday along with his team of trouble-shooters, called on AICC president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel to provide him the feedback on party's debacle.
Virbhadra Singh also met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and presented before him a report on the party's drubbing in the state. It is reliably learnt that Chief Minister also proposed to take some new initiatives to improve his government's functioning.
Later in the day, the chief minister, along with five of his cabinet colleagues, met AICC general secretary incharge of Himachal affairs Ambika Soni , who too lost elections from Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. The charge for Himachal Pradesh had been given to AICC secretary Rajiv Shukla during the elections.
Sources told Hindustan Times that Virbhadra Singh also apprised the party high command of the ongoing dissidents' activities in the state.
The chief minister is reportedly upset with the "dinner diplomacy" adopted by the dissidents in the state to regroup themselves. He also told the high command that that BJP gained more due to the suspicious acts of some Congress leaders in the state who back-stabbed the party during the run-up to the elections.
Virbhadra Singh also reportedly raised the issue related to induction of the Congress rebels back into the party. State Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu had outrightly opposed the re-entry of rebels who contested elections against the party's official candidates in 2012 Vidhan Sabha elections. Virbhadra Singh had criticised the state party chief for adopting different yardsticks on the rebels.
Meanwhile, some Congress leaders from Himachal Pradesh, including AICC secretary Asha Kumari and Rajya Sabha member Viplove Thakur, met Ambika Soni separately to present their views on the party's dismal performance.
The chief minister's detractors rue that they were ignored during the past 16 months under the Vibhadra Singh government and consequently faced difficulty in convincing the electorate to vote for the party candidates.
Leaders hostile to Virbhadra Singh are vehemently opposed to the appointment of chairmen and vice-chairmen of various boards and corporations without the prior approval of party high command. They are also crying foul over the appointment of Rajendra Rana as vice chairmen of Disaster Management Authority despite his crushing defeat at the hands of BJP's Anurag Thakur.
State party Chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu had also objected to appointment of chairmen and vice-chairmen.
Meanwhile, party sources said that Virbhadra Singh will call on Sonia Gandhi tomorrow morning .