Congress Attempts To Pacify Anand Sharma

NEW DELHI | Updated: 23 August, 2022 12:55 am IST
Congress leader Anand Sharma

A day after senior Congress leader Anand Sharma resigned from the post of chairperson of the Steering Committee for Himachal Pradesh, party leaders on Monday reached out to him. Sharma, who is also a signatory of the G23 group of the party, resigned from his post on Sunday, citing continuing “insults”.

According to party sources, Congress general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal spoke to Sharma over the phone. Later in the day, Himachal Pradesh Congress in-charge Rajiv Shukla also met party interim chief Sonia Gandhi to discuss the issue. After meeting Sonia Gandhi, Shukla then went to meet Sharma at his residence here.

A party source said that during the meeting with the senior party leader, Shukla informed him that it was deliberate to not invite him to the meetings for Himachal Pradesh. However, Sharma did not say anything to Shukla if he wanted to take his resignation back.

Sharma is all set to tour Himachal Pradesh, which will go to polls later this year on Wednesday. He will be leaving for Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday.

In a series of tweets, Sharma had said, “I have resigned with a heavy heart from the Chairmanship of the Steering Committee of the Congress for the Himachal Elections. Reiterating that I am a lifelong congressman and remain firm on my convictions.”

“Committed to the Congress ideology that runs in my blood, let there be no doubts about this! However, given the continuing exclusion and insults, as a self-respecting person. I was left with no choice,” the veteran Congress leader said.

He was appointed as the Chairperson of the Steering Committee for the state along with Asha Kumari as convenor on April 26 this year.

According to party sources, even when the State In-charge and central AICC Observers visited Shimla on August 7 and 8 and meetings of the Core Group, senior leaders and HPCC general house were convened, he as the Chairman of the Steering Committee was neither informed nor invited for any of the meetings held.

Sharma first contested in Himachal Pradesh assembly polls in 1982 and he was sent to the Rajya Sabha by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. Since then, he has been a Rajya Sabha MP and has also handled several key posts in the party.

The resignation of Sharma, one of the tallest Congress leaders in Himachal Pradesh ahead of the crucial assembly polls, is being seen as a massive setback as it might ruin the grand old party’s chances of dethroning the ruling BJP in the hill state.

The development comes days after senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, also a member of G23, resigned from all committees in Jammu and Kashmir.

Both Sharma and Azad are prominent members of the G23 group, which openly criticised the party for its decision and also wrote to party chief Sonia Gandhi asking for an active president to lead the party.

He, along with Azad, made an appearance at the Congress headquarters to address a press conference after a gap of several months on the third day of questioning of Sonia Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the alleged money laundering case involving National Herald.

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