Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma on Sunday resigned from the chairmanship of Steering Committee of Himachal Pradesh Congress. As per sources quoted by PTI, Sharma, in his resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, said that his “self-respect is non-negotiable”.
This comes just days after an organisational shake-up in the faction-ridden unit of Congress in Jammu and Kashmir boomeranged and plunged the Jammu and Kashmir unit into further crisis. Veteran leader and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has declined the post of campaign chief and several other leaders have quit the newly constituted panels. A two-time MLA from Kashmir has also announced his decision to quit the party.
Sharma has told the Congress chief that he has been ignored in the consultation process. However, he told Gandhi that he will continue to campaign for the party candidates in the state.
The former union minister and deputy leader of the Congress in Rajya Sabha was appointed as chairman of the Steering Committee in Himachal Pradesh on April 26.
On August 17, the party had constituted the Pradesh Election Committee for the state which includes state unit chief Pratibha Singh, CLP leader Mukesh Agnihotri and former Union minister Anand Sharma. Former party state unit chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu and Kuldeep Rathore are also part of the important panel.
Both Azad and Sharma are prominent leaders of the G23 grouping which has been critical of the decisions of the party leadership.
The grouping comprising prominent veterans including Bhupinder Singh Hooda and Manish Tewari has been insisting on genuine elections right from the block up to the CWC level.
Sharma, who is considered among the tallest leaders of Himachal Pradesh, has reportedly told the Congress president in his letter that his self-respect has been hurt as he has not been consulted or invited for any of the meetings of the party.
The Congress is seeking to wrest power from the BJP in Himachal Pradesh in assembly polls slated later this year.
Sharma, who first contested assembly elections in 1982 and was given a Rajya Sabha ticket by then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, has been a Rajya Sabha member ever since and has occupied several key positions in the party.
Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh are slated later this year and the Congress is seeking to wrest back power from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Congress, which has only two states under its own rule — Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, is eyeing a rejuvenation in the upcoming Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.