Teaching the lesson of unity and dedication to the party's rank and file, Himachal Congress president Sukhvinder Sukhhu on Wednesday asked party workers to sink their differences to show the doors to the Bharatiya Janata Party in the parliamentary elections.
Presiding over a meeting of workers of the Congress' Doon unit at Baddi, which saw a heated debate between party workers, Sukhu exhorted the party's rank and file to act as workers, instead of the “master(s)”, to strengthen the Congress' base.
Meanwhile, growing differences between two warring factions of the party and open accusations by certain frontline and senior leaders marred the meeting. Charging each other of promoting factionalism, leaders expressed their anguish against the chief minister (CM), Virbhadra Singh, for promoting Congress men who had either contested the assembly elections as rebels or indulged in anti-party activities.
The leaders said that it was a matter of grave concern that instead of taking action against such leaders, they were being inducted in various boards, corporations and other government bodies. This, they said, had demoralised dedicated party workers ever since the party assumed power in the state last year.
Reliable sources in the Congress said that things had come to such a pass that former Doon MLA Lajja Ram and some others spoke against the state government's style of functioning, and it overlooking old warhorses of the party in Doon segment.
The situation turned unpleasant when some leaders openly criticised the government and CM loyalists for sidelining party workers at all levels. They accused some party leaders of openly collecting money in the state's industrial belt, allegedly at the behest of certain party stalwarts.
Later, addressing the workers, Sukhhu said that interest of all honest and dedicated workers would be watched by bridging the gap between the government and organisation.
He appealed to the workers to focus on ousting the BJP in parliamentary polls instead of criticising each others. He said was Prem Kumar Dhumal who had worked as a trader during the BJP's regime and promoted the land, contractor and sports mafia.
Never opposed MLA Rana's candidature
Himachal Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Wednesday said that he had never opposed Sujanpur MLA Rajender Rana's candidature from the Hamirpur parliamentary seat, but wanted a candidate to be one a party leader or cadre-based worker.
He said it was a Congress tradition to prefer a grass-roots party worker for candidature of a seat. He said that Rahul Gandhi would address a public meeting at Dharamshala on March 8 in which the party would formally launch its poll campaign in the state.
Sukhu also criticised the BJP for boycotting the budget session and described its behaviour as irresponsible, saying that this was the first time in the history of the state that the opposition party stayed away from the proceedings of the House during the budget session.
“Opposition party leaders should have participated in the budget session and raised issues concerning the people of their constituencies from where they have been elected. But, instead, they preferred to stay out during the entire session over frivolous issues,” he said. He said the party would decide on inducting rebel leaders back into the party fold on merit.