Anand Sharma quits key Congress post in poll-bound Himachal Pradesh
In yet another jolt to the Indian National Congress (INC), senior leader Anand Sharma on Sunday announced his resignation from a key Himachal Pradesh unit post. The veteran leader announced that he was quitting as the 'steering committee' chief of Congress's HP unit. The development comes days after Ghulam Nabi Azad resigned as the campaign committee chief in the outfit's Jammu & Kashmir unit.
Why does this story matter?
- INC has lately been under the radar for internal rebellions and the resignation of key leaders, such as Kapil Sibal and Sunil Jakhar.
- Azad, also part of a 'dissenter' group of Congress leaders (G-23), resigned as the party's campaign committee chief in J&K last week.
- Former union minister and also a G-23 member, Sharma's resignation signals internal strife within the party.
'Self-respect is non-negotiable'
The decision by Sharma comes close to the heels of the Himachal Pradesh elections this year. In a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi, Sharma reportedly said, "self-respect is non-negotiable." The leader had reportedly not been informed of key election strategy meetings. He also told Gandhi that he felt 'ignored' in the consultation process, but will continue to campaign for the party in HP.
Letter to Sonia Gandhi
In his letter, Sharma said that the Congress needs to provide clarity on the multiplicity of committees and overlapping of functions, The Tribune reported. Announcing his resignation as the Chairman, Sharma wrote, " The Chairman of the Steering Committee was neither informed nor invited for any of the [election strategy] meetings held, not even for the general house."
Sharma assures he will campaign for Congress
Congress leader Anand Sharma in a letter to party's interim President Sonia Gandhi, resigns from the post of chairman of Steering Committee for Himachal assembly polls. However, Sharma has assured he will participate in campaigns for the Congress candidates— ANI (@ANI) August 21, 2022
(File photo) pic.twitter.com/ZLyYN6Q8kC
Former union minister and Rajya Sabha deputy leader
The 69-year-old leader, who has also served as the former deputy leader of Congress in the Rajya Sabha, is starting a four-day tour of the state next week. Sharma served as the Minister of Commerce and Industry under Manmohan Singh. He was given a Rajya Sabha ticket by Indira Gandhi in 1984. He was appointed as the Steering Committee Chairman on April 26.
Himachal Pradesh, J&K to go for polls
Sharma continues to be one of the tallest figures in Himachal Pradesh, where the Congress plans to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) later this year. Both his and Azad's resignation from key posts may hurt the INC in upcoming assembly elections.
Why did Azad resign?
Gandhi had appointed Azad as the party's campaign committee chief in J&K but he declined the offer due to 'health' reasons. According to NDTV, Azad saw the appointment as a demotion as he is a member of INC's all-India political affairs committee. However, he supposedly resigned because of dissatisfaction with the newly constituted campaign committee, said INC's Ashwani Handa.