Congress for four-pronged plan to wrest power in Himachal Pradesh

KS Tomar

Congress high command has reportedly finalised a four-pronged strategy to capture power in Himachal Pradesh.

Firstly, AICC secretary and in-charge of Himachal affairs of the party Rajiv Shukla has been strictly asked to execute the plan after impressing upon factional leaders to work in tandem and bury their hatchet to oust the BJP from Himachal.

Secondly, the high command expects all senior leaders to focus on the failures and anti-people policies of the BJP government which must be highlighted to defeat the ruling party. Thirdly, a victory in Himachal will create an impact at the national level hence high command wants every leader who gets party ticket to go for the kill to win his or her seat which will matter in the formation of the government by the Congress.

Finally, the high command realises that owing to chances of victory of Congress and infighting in the BJP, several leaders are joining the party which has demoralised the saffron party. Congress leaders should welcome those leaders only who can become an asset to the organisation. Rajiv Shukla confirmed that he is seriously working on the execution of the action plan.

He says that three senior leaders — state president Pratibha Singh, CLP leader Mukesh Agnihotri and campaign committee chairman Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu — have been directed to hold maximum rallies together to convey an impression of being united as it will also energise the party cadres and leaders. He feels that top priority should be dethroning the BJP government which is possible as voters have already made up their mind. The question of chief ministerial candidate will arise only when the party wins Assembly elections, he added.

According to political observers, Priyanka Gandhi's strict guidelines to senior leaders during the recent meeting in Delhi may work to the benefit of the party in the state. She has made it clear that all factional leaders must sink their differences and check the tendency of self-projection as it might prove counterproductive.

Rajiv Shukla is keeping Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka updated on regular basis. Hence, the high command is well aware of the activities of senior leaders who are expected to project BJP as a faction-ridden party hence several leaders are ditching it. Analysts say that the Congress had paid a heavy price in the 2017 Assembly elections and one of the predominant reasons pertained to open confrontation between factional leaders which must be curtailed well on time.

As per indications, Sukhu has changed his old track and is making efforts to erase old impression which is linked with his open confrontation with six-time CM late Virbhadra Singh. Now Sukhu and late CM's wife Pratibha Singh are showing no sign of old rivalry which may prove beneficial to the party. CLP leader Agnihotri is considered a staunch loyalist of Hollylodge hence he is whole heartedly and sincerely working with state party president.

Experts say it may not be a big problem to prepare an effective charge sheet against the state government as a lot of material is available which includes skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, failure of government to accept old pension demand of employees, non-fulfilment of 2017 elections promises, unemployed youths' anger, loss of jobs in small and medium industries, etc.

Now, it will depend upon the skill and capability of the Congress to exploit these issues during the Assembly elections, especially when the BJP is well equipped with vast resources, backing of state official machinery and committed cadres of RSS who are desperate to retain power.

(Writer is a senior journalist)

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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