Amid the brewing discontent and speculation that the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to poach its legislators, chief minister Virbhadra Singh has called an emergency meeting of his party legislators in state’s capital.
The meeting will be convened at chief minister’s official residence - Oakover - on the evening of May 6. “Chief minister Virbhadra Singh will preside over the meeting being convened to discuss various issues and policies of the Congress party for assembly elections,” said industries, information and public relation minister Mukesh Agnihotri.
Upbeat over BJP’s continuous victory in assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and civic polls in New Delhi, now the party is trying to woo Congress legislators, including few ministers who were reportedly hobnobbing with the saffron-party leaders in Delhi. Seemingly, there is growing fear among the Congress leadership that BJP could replicate its pattern like Uttarakhand, where faction of Congress legislators along with few of ministers sided with BJP to dislodge Harish Rawat-led Congress regime last year.
A group of Congress legislators had been unhappy with the chief minister ever since he took over state’s reins for the sixth time in 2012. In the 68-member House, Congress has 36 members while the BJP has 29, with support of one independent MLA Balbir Verma. Three more independent legislators are associate members of the Congress.
Virbhadra Singh after assuming the charge of chief minister went on a spree to accommodate leaders owing allegiance to him and his son, state youth Congress president Vikramaditya Singh, in various boards and corporation. The legislators are annoyed as the chairman and vice-chairman appointed from their segments had repeatedly made attempts to undermine their authority.
The government appointed as many four dozen members as chairman and vice-chairman, which also gave a handle to Opposition BJP to hit out at the ruling party. BJP time and again had questioned the need of such a big-scale appointment besides accusing the government of burdening the state’s deteriorating finances, which are already heavily in the red.
The Congress legislators are also dismayed over Virbhadra Singh giving priority to chairman and vice-chairman in carrying out development works. A group of members of legislative assembly two days back had called on the chief minister complaining about the non-execution of development schemes in their respective constituencies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to overthrow the corrupt regime in Himachal during the Parivartan rally in Shimla, followed by BJP national president Amit Shah’s two-day visit has made Congress wary about BJP’s plan to reclaim power in the hill state that goes for polls at the end of this year.