Congmen, expelled party leaders enter into scuffle
UNA EVENT Local MLA’s supporters force exNSUI state chief and his aides out of convention venue after argument, Patil asks workers to maintain discipline
DHARAMSHALA: Despites tall claims of unity by senior leaders, there seems no end to the infighting in Himachal Congress as party workers again clashed with each other in front of All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of party affairs Rajni Patil in Una district on Saturday.
Patil, who is on a three-district tour to Himachal, was in Una on the concluding day to preside over a party convention at Badrala in Una district
The fracas began after supporters of Congress legislator from Una Satpal Singh Raizada had a heated exchange with former National Student Union of India (NSUI) state president Karun Sharma. He was accompanied by two other leaders Sumit Sharma and Sanjeev Saini.
The trio has been expelled from the party for anti-party activities in 2017 assembly election and Raizada’s supporters were angered over their presence in the convention. An argument between the groups turned into a brawl and Karun and his friends were virtually thrown out of the venue by Raizada’s supporters. Sources said that the situation also led to an argument between Raizada and Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Mukesh Agnihotri as they accused each other of promoting anti-party elements.
Seeing the situation turning ugly, Agnihotri urged the expelled leader to stay away from the convention. Normalcy prevailed for a while but not for long as Karun and his supporters again tried to enter the venue.
Again the two rival factions got involved in a fierce slogan shouting after which the leaders present on the dais gave them a strict warning to let the convention go on smoothly.
Meanwhile, addressing the convention, Patil said such members dent party’s image. “This lack of discipline and sabotage by own people is the main reason Congress lost the elections in Himachal,” said Patil, advising that party leaders and workers refrain from such activities in the public and also warned that such acts will not be tolerated.
She said the workers should preserve this aggression for the Lok Sabha polls and work to ensure victory of the Congress in all four parliamentary seats in the hill state.
Meanwhile, fissures in the Congress are wide open as former chief minister Virbhadra Singh and state party chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu have daggers drawn against each other for a long time. Patil is facing a tough task in keeping the house in order as all the convention presided over by her after being appointed in-charge of Himachal Congress were marred with incidents of rival factions coming face to face.
Most recently, Virbhadra had accused Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) chief Sukhu of not inviting him to Patil’s convention.
■ Himachal Congress incharge Rajni Patil with other state leaders at a convention in Una on Saturday.