A week after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) announced home coming of its disgruntled leaders, the state executive of Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), which met here on Tuesday to discuss the poll strategies ahead of the Lok sabha elections, was against the return of turncoats.
State executive members were not in favour of re-inducting leaders frequently expelled for anti-party activities. A majority of members objected that leaders who had faced expulsion for more than two times should not be taken back into the party fold. The party, however, agreed for the conditional return of leaders who were expelled or issued notices for anti- party activity.
"Executive committee members took up the issue of party leaders who have been issued notices or have been expelled for anti-party activities and all the members were of the view that these party leaders can be brought back into the party's fold on merit basis and after consultation with the PCC members, MLAs and presidents of DCCs and BCCs", said state Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.
Post-assembly polls, the Congress party had issued notices to as many as 85 leaders for anti-party activities. There were widespread reports from the block and the district units and individual candidates about local leaders indulging in anti-party activities during the elections.
Just a few weeks ahead of the assembly elections, the party had expelled as many as 25 leaders. Prominent among them were Karnesh Jung and Prem Lata Thakur. Jung, who contested as Independent candidate against the party nominee in Paonta, had managed to win the seat. He is now associate member of the party. Prem Lata Thakur, wife of former Horticulture Minister Satya Parkash Thakur, had contested elections against Congress nominee Sunder Thakur in Kullu.
Former Congress legislators Kashmir Singh from Ghumarwein, Ishawardass from Anni and Mastram from Karsog were also expelled for rebelling against the official candidate.
While addressing the executive committee members, Sukhu said the list of party candidates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections is likely to announced soon. "In the executive committee, it was unanimously decided to hold district level conventions in the state that will be started by February end and these conventions will continue till March 2014," Sukhu said, adding that apart from this, he along with PCC vice presidents and the general secretary in-charge will also conduct meeting in their respective DCCs and BCCs during the first phase of the election campaign in the state.
Meanwhile, Sukhu praised the state budget presented by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in the assembly recently while he condemned the opposition BJP for its frequent walk outs from the house. "The people- friendly budget presented by Virbhadra Singh had provided relief and incentives to all sections of society, be it farmers, horticulturalists, labourers, women, youth, government or contract employees and we appreciate the efforts of the Congress government they addressed the concerns of all sections despite financial constraints," Sukhu added.
HPCC president thanked UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and especially party vice president Rahul Gandhi for raising the number of subsidised LPG cylinders from 9 to 12.
He flayed the BJP's 'One Note, One Vote' campaign and termed it as unconstitutional and illegal. "BJP is setting a bad precedent by running such unconstitutional campaigns," he added.