After quitting as the head of the Himachal Pradesh Congress steering committee for being sidelined in the state unit’s preparations for the forthcoming assembly polls, former union minister Anand Sharma on Wednesday arrived in Shimla and held meetings with senior leaders, promising to go “full throttle" with the party’s campaign, though he admitted that factionalism was hurting it.
Sharma, who is a member of the Congress Working Committee, arrived in the state capital on a two-day visit and maintained that despite having resigned, he will continue to campaign for the party. “I may have resigned as the head of the steering committee, but I remain a loyal Congressman and shall campaign for the party," he said.
He met state unit president Pratibha Singh at the Congress Bhawan. State co-incharge Tejinder Pal Bittu was also present on the occasion. Senior party leaders and MLAs are also expected to meet him.
The former union minister admitted that the state unit was riddled with factionalism and that could harm its prospects in the upcoming polls but asserted that the party still held an advantage.
“There is no doubt the Congress has a distinct edge but factionalism is a matter of concern. It can certainly hurt our prospects,” said Sharma.
He took a dig at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, saying that it should be bothered more about its own affairs. “The BJP should not bother about the Congress. It should rather think whether its own house is in order or not, as it has rebels in almost half of the total assembly segments in the state," claimed Sharma.
Though Sharma has been unhappy with a section of the senior leadership looking after the party’s campaign in the state including Rajeev Shukla, he has been refraining from naming them. “The party ticket should be given only on merit and winnability criteria," he said, refusing to talk about the issue further.
After two Congress MLAs joined the BJP recently, Sharma admitted that some leaders have been upset at being neglected.
“Some people have personal aspirations and expectations, which may not have been met. One size doesn’t fit all. It’s a malaise that not only afflicts the Congress but also other political parties," he said.