Congress assures sulking Virbhadra of larger say in candidate selection (Lead)

July 28th, 2012 - 1:18 am ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) The Congress leadership is learnt to have assured former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh that he would have a “larger say” in distribution of party tickets for the coming assembly polls in the state, party sources said Friday.

He was also assured that the appointment of a working president of the state unit would be considered.

The sources said that assurances were given to Virbhadra Singh by Congress leaders Friday after he conveyed his displeasure over the way the campaign was being run in the state and offered to resign from party panels set up to boost party preparations for the assembly polls.

Party general secretary Digvijay Singh and Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, had met Virbhadra Singh during the day.

The sources said Virbhadra Singh was likely to contest the assembly election.

The central leadership had also agreed to consider appointing a Virbhadra Singh loyalist as working president. His supporters had, in their meetings with the party high command, sought replacement of state Congress chief Kaul Singh Thakur.

The sources said the central leadership had also assured Virbhadra Singh that the campaign panel headed by him will be pruned.

The sources close to Virbhadra Singh said he had offered to resign from the party committees over the way the party campaign was being built up in the state.

They said the five-time former chief minister was peeved over the composition of the campaign committee and manifesto committee and his non-inclusion in the screening panel constituted by the party Tuesday

The manifesto committee is chaired by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma. Virbhadra Singh, who is also a member, did not attend its last meeting.

The screening panel, which will have a major say in deciding tickets for candidates, is chaired by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit. Its members include Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh, party general secretary Birender Singh, state Congress chief Kaul Singh Thakur and legislative party leader Vidya Stokes.

Virbhadra Singh had resigned from the Manmohan Singh cabinet last month in the wake of a Shimla court order in a 23-year-old corruption case.

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