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

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Region - Naresh K Thakur Naresh.ku­mar4@hin­dus­tan­times.com

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.

HT

■ Hi­machal Congress in­charge Ra­jni Patil with other state lead­ers at a con­ven­tion in Una on Satur­day.

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