Virbhadra, Sukhu rule out rift over ticket distribution
Their different field plans may have delayed the announcement of nominees for four Lok Sabha seats but chief minister Virbhadra Singh and state Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu don't count it as a rift.punjab Updated: Mar 14, 2014 22:33 IST
Their different field plans may have delayed the announcement of nominees for four Lok Sabha seats but chief minister Virbhadra Singh and state Congress president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu don't count it as a rift.
"There are no differences in the party. It happens that different people have different choice. All this is natural at the time of ticket distribution," is how Virbhadra reacted to the reports of differing with Sukhu over candidate selection.
It was the party high command that decided the candidates based on recommendation of the party's state election committee, said the CM, adding: "Winnability is the sole criterion. The government and the party will back the candidates fully. There is no question of fissures."
For the past three months, Sukhu has lobbied for ticket to his favourites. He opposed the candidature of Rajinder Rana from Hamirpur and made a case for Mukesh Agnihotri. After it became certain that the high command favoured Rana, Sukhu had a closed-door meeting with him on Thursday night.
As his case was for ticket to "genuine" Congressmen and not "outsiders", for the Shimla seat, he backed Vinod Sultanpuri but Virbhadra prevailed in securing ticket for Rohru legislator Mohan Lal Brakta.
"It was the high-command call. As head of the state unit, I pushed the case of leaders with loyal background. There could have been difference of opinion over choosing candidates but there are no differences in the party," Sukhu said here.
Since the candidates were announced, the party would focus on winning all four parliamentary seats in the state, said the Himachal Pardesh Congress president. On March 20, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will address a rally in Dharamsala.