Cong Thinks Plan B as Virb­hadra Faces Court Cases

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics -

Hi­machal CM to be de­fended by Kapil Sibal in DA case on Mon­day and by Ab­hishek Singhvi on Tues­day

New Delhi: Notwith­stand­ing the Congress high com­mand and party MLAs ex­tend­ing their sol­i­dar­ity to Hi­machal Pradesh CM Virb­hadra Singh at a meet­ing in Delhi on Satur­day, the party lead­er­ship is on ten­ter­hooks as Singh is fac­ing key le­gal tests in Delhi on Mon­day and Tues­day. The lead­er­ship is aware that it may be forced to work on a del­i­cate con­tin­gency plan should the CBI get the Delhi HC to can­cel the CM’s bail in a dis­pro­por­tion­ate as­sets (DA) case.

Tak­ing no chance, Singh will be de­fended in the courts by the top le­gal ea­gles avail­able to the Congress: Kapil Sibal in the DA case and Ab­hishek Singhvi in a case on Tues­day where Singh is seek­ing a stay of the En­force­ment Direc­torate at­tach­ing his prop­erty in an­other case.

The fear that pow­er­ful in­ter­ests in the BJP and the Union Cab­i­net are “leav­ing no stone un­turned to try and dis­lodge the CM” is adding to the alert­ness. Though the AICC and party MLAs, as of now, are ral­ly­ing be­hind him, the lead­er­ship is also aware of the need for a con­tin­gency plan if the court or­ders the can­cel­la­tion of CM’s bail and gives the CBI his cus­tody, some­thing that could make his con­tin­u­a­tion in the top post legally and po­lit­i­cally tricky. “We are fully with Virb­hadraji and are hope­ful that he will win his le­gal cases,” said a se­nior AICC func­tionary.

Given Singh, among the few re­main­ing en­trenched satraps of the party, re­mains the face and strength of the Hi­machal Congress with over­whelm­ing sup­port among party MLAs, any le­gal set­back for him could make the task of po­lit­i­cal re­pair, in­clud­ing look­ing at a change of guard, a task.

Though a group of over a dozen se­nior Congress MLAs backed Singh at a meet­ing AICC general sec­re­tary Am­bika Soni called on Satur­day as a sol­i­dar­ity show, his in-house crit­ics such as Vi­plove Thakur, Kaul Singh Thakur and Asha Ku­mari, ac­cord­ing to sources, also made it a point to un­der­line in the meet­ing the need for the CM to de­cen­tralise his pow­er­shar­ing ap­proach. Se­nior Congress leader Anand Sharma, an old face of the anti-Singh group, has been of late main­tain­ing a neu­tral po­si­tion, busy­ing him­self with na­tional pol­i­tics.

As his fate hangs in bal­ance in court, Singh met So­nia Gandhi twice over the past week and the Congress chief has been en­gag­ing all stake-hold­ers in the state and AICC as part of po­lit­i­cal and le­gal de­fense of his case. Sens­ing the cases are en­ter­ing a del­i­cate phase, the BJP mem­bers in HP had stalled the pro­ceed­ings of the House last week, de­mand­ing the CM’s res­ig­na­tion.

an old face of the anti-Singh group in the state Congress, has been of late main­tain­ing a neu­tral po­si­tion and play­ing na­tional role

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