Cong. ap­points new chief in Himachal to end fac­tion­al­ism

Strate­gic move also with an eye on the Lok Sabha poll


To put an end to in­fight­ing among its top lead­er­ship in Himachal Pradesh, the Con­gress cen­tral lead­er­ship had ap­pointed Kuldeep Singh Rathore as its State chief ear­lier this week.

This is seen as an at­tempt to end fac­tion­al­ism, be­sides strik­ing a re­gional and caste bal­ance in the State lead­er­ship, ahead of the 2019 Par­lia­men­tary elec­tion.

Con­gress had lost all four par­lia­men­tary seats — Mandi, Shimla, Kan­gra and Hamir­pur — in the 2014 poll to the BJP. Fac­tion­al­ism within the party was con­sid­ered one of the rea­sons for the hu­mil­i­at­ing loss.

Later in the 2017 Assem­bly poll, the Con­gress was re­duced to 21 seats in the 68mem­ber State Assem­bly. It also lost the Shimla Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion elec­tion in June 2017, which it ruled for nearly 26 years. Clam­our within the party to re­place the State chief had been gain­ing mo­men­tum since then.

All In­dia Con­gress Com­mit­tee Pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi on Jan­uary 10 cleared the name of 55-yearold Kuldeep Rathore as the Himachal Pradesh Con­gress Com­mit­tee pres­i­dent, re­plac­ing Sukhvin­der Singh Sukhu. Mr. Rathore, who hails from Ku­mar­sain in Shimla dis­trict, is the first non-MLA to head the State unit. For­mer Chief Min­is­ter and se­nior leader Virb­hadra Singh had been at the fore­front de­mand­ing the re­moval of Mr. Sukhu amid strong dif­fer­ences be­tween them.

Mr. Rathore, con­sid­ered close to for­mer Union Min­is­ter Anand Sharma, also had the back­ing of Virb­hadra Singh and Mukesh Ag­ni­hotri — leader of the Op­po­si­tion in the Assem­bly — be­sides other se­nior lead­ers, in­clud­ing Vidya Stokes, Dhani Ram Shandil, Vi­plov Thakur and Asha Ku­mari.

Ra­jni Patil, in-charge of party af­fairs in Himachal Pradesh and Ra­jya Sabha mem­ber told :“He was the only can­di­date who had the back­ing of all the fac­tions of the State unit, and ev­ery­one sup­ported him. Also, with his ap­point­ment, re­gional rep­re­sen­ta­tion from the up­per Himachal area has been given in the State lead­er­ship.”

He was the only can­di­date who had the back­ing of all the fac­tions Ra­jni Patil In-charge o f party af­fairs in Himachal

The Hindu Ap­ple belt bal­ance

“By putting Mr. Rathore at the helm, the party has at­tempted to strike a re­gional bal­ance in its State lead­er­ship. With Mukesh Ag­ni­hotri, MLA from Una, as its leader in the State Assem­bly, and now with Mr. Rathore as HPCC chief, the party has given a rep­re­sen­ta­tion to the up­per Himachal re­gion — the po­lit­i­cally sig­nif­i­cant ‘Ap­ple belt’,” said Bhawani Singh, se­nior as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor, Himachal Pradesh Univer­sity.

More­over, Mr. Rathore’s ap­point­ment bal­ances the caste equa­tion as he rep­re­sents the Ra­jput com­mu­nity, while Mr. Ag­ni­hotri is a Brah­min.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.