Jolt for Cong as Sharma quits HP unit steering panel citing insults

Sharma, in a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, is learnt to have said he was not consulted on the planning for the assembly elections and cited several examples where he was not invited for discussions.
Anand Sharma
Anand Sharma PTI

NEW DELHI: In a jolt to the Congress ahead of Himachal Pradesh polls, senior leader Anand Sharma on Sunday resigned from the chairmanship of the party’s steering committee for the state, saying he was left with no choice after the “continuing exclusion and insults”.

Sharma, in a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, is learnt to have said he was not consulted on the planning for the assembly elections and cited several examples where he was not invited for discussions.

The resignation is a fresh setback to the Congress’ efforts to placate dissenters after another leader of the G23 grouping Ghulam Nabi Azad stepped down as chairman of the campaign committee in Jammu and Kashmir a few days ago. “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 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,” Sharma said on Twitter.

He wrote to the Congress president that his self-respect is “non-negotiable” and he has thus resigned from the post, sources said.

However, he told Gandhi that he will continue to campaign for the party candidates in the state.

Sharma was appointed chairman of the steering committee in Himachal Pradesh on April 26. Countdown to elect new Cong chief begins: As the countdown began for the election of Congress president, the party’s election authority on Sunday said it would stick to the schedule of electing a new chief by September 20.

Chairman of the party’s Central Election Authority Madhusudan Mistry said it was up to the CWC to approve the final date for the election, which could be any day between August 21 to September 20. However, sections in the party did not rule out delay in the internal poll process, considering the reluctance of Rahul Gandhi in contesting for the top post, lack of a ‘Plan B’ and the current focus of the Congress on organising ‘Bharat Jodo yatra’ next month.

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