‘I Am not in Race for Any Post’
Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) President Sukhwinder Sukhu feels that Virbhadra government’s achievements of current tenure would break the myth that Himachalis change state governments every election. During his visit to Divya Himachal head office at Matour, HPCC President Sukhwinder Sukhu expressed his views about party’s preparation for next assembly elections due in 2017 and efforts put in to strengthen party’s organisation with Himachal This Week team. Following are the excerpts of the interview:
HTW: How much coordination could you develop between the organisation and government as both are completing nearly four years term now?
Sukhwinder Sukhu: There is very good coordination between the government and organisation due to understanding and support by senior party leaders. Minor differences, if any, are being solved through discussion. Good coordination is must for running an organisation.
HTW: But certain statements by Chief Minister indicate that there is no coordination between the government and organisation…?
Sukhwinder Sukhu: He is senior most party leader. It doesn’t mean that there is no coordination if he puts his viewpoint differently. Both are working with complete understanding with an objective and goal to win next assembly election.
HTW: Under whose leadership will be next election fought in Himachal? Are you also in race for chief minister’s post?
Sukhwinder Singh: Next election will be fought under Congress party’s leadership. Virbhadra Singh is a big face in the party and other big faces are also working in the government and organisation. The Congress will fight elections by making Himachal government’s achievements and Modi government’s failures as main poll planks. As far as I am concerned, I am not in race for any post
HTW: Don’t you think to present report card of ministers before entering electoral arena?
Sukhwinder Sukhu: I believe that ministers are fulfilling their responsibilities in different departments. I talk to them as state president to remove shortcomings if there are any. Working of ministers till now is also their report card.
HTW: How would you dispel the feeling in Hamirpur that there is no development of the area in Congress tenure?
Sukhwinder Sukhu: The Congress is synonymous of development in Hamirpur. Who gave Medical College and Spice Park? The area didn’t get a medical college or even a degree college while Prem Kumar Dhumal remained chief minister for two terms. Development doesn’t happen only by leveling accusations but has to be done on the ground. The Congress believes in service and the BJP in malicious propaganda. Why not the BJP leaders, claiming to have a say in the Centre, get Spice Park project and others cleared?
HTW: What changes you have effected in Congress party after becoming HPCC president?
Sukhwinder Sukhu: Earlier there were so many posts but with little importance attached to them. I reduced the number of posts but enhanced their value.
HTW: Why Congress remains at back foot in BJP’s stronghold Hamirpur?
Sukhwinder Singh: No, we were never at the back foot in Hamirpur. It is a fact that we don’t speak about our achievements loudly. We believe the development is visible and crying hoarse is not Congress party’s policy.
HTW: Have you been able to control factionalism in Hamirpur Congress?
Sukhwinder Sukhu: The party was never divided in factions in Hamirpur. The BJP got four seats as people were hoping to get CM from the district. Now the situation is reverse as BJP has failed miserably as opposition party. The BJP has four seats in Hamirpur but Congress too had permutation in its favour in the past.
HTW: Will Congress remain busy in criticising the BJP or make people aware of works done by the state government?
Sukhwinder Singh: Modi ji has failed to fulfill dreams which he had sold to people of the country. ‘Modi ke bol, jumlo ke dhol’ campaign is highlighting this fact. There was a hope from Modi ji to fight against corruption but he didn’t bring Lokpal and Lokayukta bills in the parliament. Are these not failures? We are exposing misdeeds of BJP at all places while highlighting achievements of Virbhadra government.
HTW: Will Congress change candidates or deny tickets to any minister in next assembly elections?
Sukhwinder Sukhu: Circumstances and performances of all MLAs are being analysed. Wishes of people and advise of senior leaders will matter. However, it is not possible and justified to say as to who would be denied ticket at this moment. Yes, certainly we have fixed some parameters that persons who have sided with the party all along will get a chance to progress further. I have not allowed re-entry of those who opposed Congress during previous elections in the party.
HTW: Chief Minister has a long list of rebels. What would you say?
Sukhwinder Sukhu: Yes, Chief Minister has given names of few leaders. I believe that appropriate steps on merit would be taken at places where block or district committees recommend names. Virbhadra is a respectable leader and he also understands compulsions of party’s constitution.
HTW: Which party Bali ji represent, now?
Sukhwinder Sukhu: Bali ji is a leader of our party and holds transport and other important portfolios. You have asked this question because his working style is different.
HTW: How difficult it is for the Congress to face a situation like ‘Rajinder Rana versus Anita Verma’?
Sukhwinder Sukhu: Similar condition prevails at about eight to ten places in Himachal but things would settle down in coming days. Organisation is bigger than any person and they will be dealt with easily. All will move forward under the ambit of discipline, otherwise….
HTW: Governments change in Himachal every time. How do you see this time?
Sukhwinder Singh: The Congress government would repeat this time on the basis of developmental works done during its present tenure. We will break this myth.
HTW: One of the CPS has gone bold on social media. Is it not wrong?
Sukhwinder Sukhu: CPS is a respectable post and every politician should remain within limits and derogatory statements should not be made.
* Modi ji has failed to fulfill dreams which he had sold to people of the country. ‘Modi ke bol, jumlo ke dhol’ campaign is highlighting this fact
-Sukhwinder Sukhu, HPCC President