After Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu attended the G20 dinner, a section of senior leaders within the Congress have been unhappy with his decision, indicating that he should have refused to attend after the main leader of the largest Opposition party (Congress) and Leader of Opposition (LoP) in Rajya Sabha (Malikarjun Kharge) was not invited for the dinner.
However, Chief Minister Sukhu clarified his attendance in the event on social media platform X (formerly Twitter). He wrote, “Had the privilege of addressing the grave aftermath of torrential rains in Himachal Pradesh during my conversation with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji after our G20 summit dinner. I also requested a special disaster relief package and emphasized the need to designate this calamity as a ‘national disaster,’ highlighting the urgency of the situation.”
A political analyst said, “Even if the high command had given freedom to decide to go to the meeting or not, he should have decided not to because the chief of the party or rather the leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha (Malikarjun Kharge) was not invited by the government. Not visiting would have made a clear statement that Congress opposes the decision of showing disrespect to their leader. The High command comes first. The political family comes first.” However, another political analyst said, “He is going through a bad time in his state where his people need resources to keep themselves alive and it is not possible for the state government alone to fulfil the needs of the crisis-ridden state. Moreover, he is just not a Congress member, but he is a CM too and he has to make decisions for the betterment of people.”
In addition to that, party insiders in Himachal Pradesh suggested that the decision to visit the summit would have been taken after informing Rahul Gandhi and, therefore, the central leadership of the Congress which calls the shots may not be unhappy with Sukkhu. However, there could be some top leaders who might not have been happy with his decision.
Sukhu was among the chief ministers of Opposition-ruled states who attended the dinner. Other chief ministers present for the dinner at the Bharat Mandapam, venue for the 18th G20 leaders’ Summit, were West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee and Jharkhand’s Hemant Soren.
Besides this, there is a bigger worry for the Congress where the Pratibha Singh camp is seeking more space in the cabinet for her loyalists as there are three ministerial positions vacant in the state. A journalist covering the Congress in the state said, “There are often minor statements made by the two camps (one led by Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu) against each other which get blown into bigger troubles for the party. Moreover, Pratibha Singh is seeking more importance in the state and her aspirations are not being met, so the struggle is continuing.”
There are allegations, according to a section of Congress leaders, that Chief Minister Sukhu is being despotic and accommodating only his loyalists in the government. Therefore, the leaders loyal to former chief minister late Virbhadra Singh and state president Pratibha Singh are feeling sidelined. Moreover, to discuss about the organisational matters with Malikarjun Kharge (AICC president), Pratibha Singh met the Congress chief this week, where she informed that if the hard working and dedicated party workers are given some responsibilities in the government soon, then it will infuse new blood among the party workers.