One family, one ticket norm has Congress in a bind

One family, one ticket norm has Congress in a bind

The Congress high command is in a bind over allotting a party ticket to Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s son, in violation of its one family, one ticket norm for the Assembly elections early next month.

This would be the last election for octogenarian Virbhadra, who is desperate to accommodate his son, Vikramaditya Singh, to carry forward his political legacy. At the same time, the Congress high command’s move to overlook its stated norm of one family, one ticket will be fodder for the Opposition BJP, which has accused the grand old party of nepotism.

The Congress can ill afford to ignore Virbhadra, and it would soon be clear whether the high command will make an exception to its rules for the old warhorse.

Virbhadra held parlays with party vice president Rahul Gandhi to accommodate his son from the “safe” seat of Shimla (Rural), which he vacated for Vikramaditya, who is presently the Himachal Youth Congress president. Sources said the chief minister has remained adamant in the face of opposition from Congressmen, who have been opposing the move.

CM’s tantrums
The chief minister, who has been embroiled in graft scandals and is under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate, has been throwing tantrums ahead of the Assembly elections.

He also threatened not to contest the elections if the party did not clip the wings of HPCC president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, his bete noire. The Congress did just that as it could ill afford a headless party with just a few weeks until the state goes to polls — the party removed Suku as Himachal election campaign committee chief and appointed Virbhadra in his place. Virbhadra even managed a major share in ticket allotment.

In the past two decades, no government has repeated a term in office in the hill state.

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