Shimla: Showing an outward show of strength, the otherwise badly divided state Congress in Himachal on Sunday sent a one-line resolution to AICC chief Sonia Gandhi and authorised her to select and appoint the new Pradesh Congress Committee president. The entire state Congress leadership led by its chief Kaul Singh Thakur were present in the meeting today.
Union minister Virbhadra Singh and leader of opposition Vidya Stokes, who lead the two warring factions in the party, were also present with their respective supporters. There are 79 delegates who were to choose the leader today.
Virbhadra Singh has been openly condemning till yesterday the faulty process that has been followed in electing block presidents in the state. Singh’s supporters like former and sitting MLAs Ram Lal Thakur, Chandra Kumar, Harsh Mahajan and Gangu Ram Musafir were lobbying hard to become the state president, whereas the other camp led by Stokes had thrown its entire weight behind sitting president Kaul Singh Thakur who is vying for his second term now. This group though having a clear majority was interested in authorising AICC, as is also an old precedent, to declare the PCC chief.
Three leaders, Sujan Singh Pathania, Ram Lal and Chandra Kumar from the group led by Virbhadra, created curiosity and confusion when they applied for the nomination forms on Saturday. But after assessing the situation and finding the numbers against them they preferred to quietly support the one-line resolution today, said a senior party leader present in the meeting. There were 62 delegates from the constituencies and 6 seats were vacant since no consensus has been achieved there. There are also 13 district presidents and all the past PCC chiefs who constitute the Electoral College for the PCC president elections.
Stokes moved the resolution authorising Gandhi, and it was supported by former PCC chief Sat Mahajan.
An another resolution congratulating Gandhi for once again becoming the AICC chief and highlighting the sacrifices made by the Nehru-Gandhi family was moved by Kaul Singh Thakur and seconded by Singh, said party spokesman Kuldeep Rathore. Union commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma, who hails from Shimla, could not attend the meeting today. AICC observer and returning officer for the elections Rajni Patil was present in the meeting.