There is palpable vexation amid the Congress rank and file in the Sujanpur assembly segment over the party giving preference to turncoat Rajinder Rana.
A former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Rana had defeated Congress candidate in the last Vidhan Sabha elections before resigning from the seat and joining the Congress to contest from the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat.
However, he lost the seat and was made vice-chairman of the Himachal Pradesh Disaster Management Board by chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
Rana's dominance in the party politics has irked the constituency's veteran Congressmen, who express their annoyance in the state Congress meeting held here on July 10. Since Rana was not present at the meeting, as he is not a member of the organisational set-up of the party, his detractors openly blasted the top leadership of the party for giving precedence to former BJP workers in the party, while denying them their rights.
The matter had earlier cropped up in a meeting of the Sujanpur unit of the party a few months ago in the presence of state Congress president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu. Following ruckus in the meeting, Sukhu had issued notices to many party members, including Rana and former All-India Mahila Congress president Anita Verma for their failure to control their workers during the meeting. A decision on the matter is still pending with Sukhu with both Verma and Rana belonging to the chief minister's camp.
Besides, Rana touring the constituency and listening to the grievances of the people and taking decisions on the spot has also not gone down well with the party workers. They have has also sent letters to All-India Congress Committee president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi showing strong resentment against the working style of Rana and his supporters.
However, Rana continues to march ahead with patience with the support of the chief minister and the district officers who take active part in his functions and also abide by his decisions.
This has not only caused heartburn in the rank and file of the Congress party but also in the rival BJP camp.
Local BJP MLA Narendra Thakur has also launched an anti-Rana tirade through the media and by going to people to stop Rana from making announcements of various projects and schemes. But he has ostensibly failed.
With panchayati raj elections scheduled in December this year, it now remains to be seen whether Rana and his supporters will be able to win majority seats without the help of other Congressmen or the BJP makes inroads into the stronghold of Rana.