Home Dehradun All not well in Cong as Pritam Singh threatens to resign

All not well in Cong as Pritam Singh threatens to resign

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By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 11 Apr: After much delay, the Congress High Command yesterday finally appointed Ranikhet MLA Karan Mahra as the new PCC Chief and Bajpur MLA Yashpal Arya as the new Leader of the Opposition. However, the appointments don’t seem to have gone down well with the party cadre, especially from Garhwal region, which was totally ignored in all three important appointments made yesterday.
Senior Congress leader and former PCC Chief as well former Leader of the Opposition, Pritam Singh has taken exception to the allegations of factionalism levelled against him. He today issued a statement claiming that he would resign if these allegations of factionalism could be proved. He also demanded an independent inquiry to be ordered by the Congress High Command into the allegations.
It is pertinent to point out here that, soon after the announcement of appointments in the party, he called on Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami and held a “discussion with him on development of Uttarakhand”. Soon after his meeting with the CM, speculation started whether he intends to leave the Congress and join the BJP, something which sources close to him have denied. Though there is nothing unusual in meetings between the leaders of the Ruling Party and the Opposition, it is the timing of the meeting that has led to speculation. It could well be intended to send a message to the Congress leadership that, for him, other options are also open.
It may be recalled that Singh’s statement was issued today in the wake of a report on the party’s defeat in the recent assembly elections by the National General Secretary of the Congress, Avinash Pandey. Pandey had been sent by the Party High Command as an observer to Uttarakhand to assess the reasons for the party’s defeat in the state. The report has been submitted to the party high command. Sources claim that the report does not directly mention Singh by name but points fingers at him and some other party leaders as well. It claims that factionalism was chiefly responsible for the party’s defeat in the Uttarakhand Assembly elections. It may be recalled that party leaders close to veteran party leader Harish Rawat, like Harish Dhami and Govind Singh Kunjwal, have openly blamed Singh and the “faction led by him” for the party’s defeat. These party leaders have also blamed the leader in charge of the party affairs in the state, Devendra Yadav, for the defeat, alleging unfair distribution of tickets. Sources close to Singh, however, claimed that Harish Rawat had a major role to play in the ticket distribution and, therefore, it is unfair to blame others.
The new PCC Chief Karan Mahra is a close relative of veteran Congress leader Harish Dhami. Even Kapri, appointed as Deputy Leader of the Congress Legislative Party and the one who had defeated Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, is considered close to Rawat, while Arya is not considered close to either Singh or Rawat. However, sources claim that the Congress High Command had attempted to project that it had made the appointments independently and not favoured any particular faction. However, leaders close to Singh like Kichha MLA and veteran Congress leader Tilak Raj Behad have also been ignored and, therefore, those close to Singh do feel ignored. Meanwhile, some leaders close to Singh have also openly levelled allegations against national party leaders behind the decision of unfair play. In fact, Girish Punera, a leader close to Singh and former State Secretary of the party has even resigned from the party. Although, till only recently, Devendra Yadav was considered close to the Singh faction, he has now become the target of the very same leaders allegedly led by Singh after yesterday’s appointments.
Meanwhile, the speculation within the party today was that some Congress MLAs could resign from the party and their membership of the assembly and that Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami could contest for one of these vacated seats. The speculation within the party is that, at least, 3 Congress MLAs could resign soon. Whether this turns out to be true will only be known in the coming days!

Collective resignations from Cong in Chamoli
By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 11 Apr: Soon after the Congress High Command announced the name of the Leader of the Opposition and the State President, late last evening, the voices of rebellion have started surfacing in the party. “Disgusted by the neglect of Garhwal region” in the appointment of State President and the Leader of the Opposition as well as of Deputy Leader of the Congress Legislative Party, all the office bearers of the District Executive of the party in Chamoli have resigned collectively.
The new PCC Chief, Karan Mahra, the new Leader of The Opposition Yashpal Arya, as well as new Deputy Leader of the Congress Legislative Party, Bhuwan Kapri, are from Kumaon region.
Party insiders claim that more resignations are likely from other parts of Garhwal region in the coming days in protest against neglect of the region. They further claim that, had AAP performed better, the Congress leaders could have had some options before them. However, they assert that, given the circumstances, the party would have a tough challenge in striking a fair regional, caste and factional balance in the restructure of the state unit.