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HomeHimachal PradeshCong trio out to claim Virbhadra legacy

Cong trio out to claim Virbhadra legacy

Caption: Congress leaders during a meeting
 Saurabh Sood | TNR

Himachal Pradesh assembly elections are still a good year and half away but it is considered the right time by three Congress bigwigs in the state to start making moves on the political chess board.

Considered close to former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, the trio including leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri, former minister during Congress regime and party national secretary Sudhir Sharma and Dalhousie MLA Asha Kumari, are said to have got together in Una recently to take on mission 2022 as a team.
The legacy of former CM is up for grabs, considering that Virbhadra Singh has been ailing and politically inactive since 2017. Agnihotri’s meeting last week with former minister Kaul Singh and former CM’s son and MLA Vikramaditya Singh in Shimla as well as local Congress leaders in Solan, is considered to be part of the political script aimed at regaining power in 2022 end. Of course, the official reason for the meetings is being touted as a move to strengthen the Congress party.

If highly placed sources in Congress are to be believed then one of the reasons behind the trio’s new found affinity and political moves is the rising popularity of Kangra district heavyweight Congress leader and former minister G S Bali. Last month, the party high command had made Bali the head of Corona relief committee and given him a free hand. Bali had aligned himself with party state president Kuldip Singh Rathore  to manage the committee work following which the trio had unofficially distanced itself from the committee. The trio’s next move was to start getting together supporters of Virbhadra Singh. While many heavyweight party leaders were present during a couple of meetings held in June last year, this time around many of those leaders are not to be seen around in the meetings being held off late.

Leadership tussle??

The current political moves are actually being seen as a leadership tussle before the 2022 assembly polls.

The party group aligned to Virbhadra Singh had gone to Delhi to pressurise the party high command to remove party state president Kuldip Rathore. However, Rathore got a breather with Virbhadra Singh stepping up in his support. As a counter move the group led by Sukhvinder Singh Sukhhu, MLA from Nadaun assembly constituency of Hamirpur district and former party president of the state, had been trying to engineer the removal of Agnihotri as the leader of the Opposition. Sukhhu, also a CM aspirant, is considered to be a political ally of Bali and was active between 2012 and 2018, in his capacity of state party president, against Virbhadra Singh.

In the recently held municipal elections in four cities, the two groups had tried to upstage the other. Currently the Bali group and Virbhadra group are engaged in a poster war.



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