In a major setback to the Congress, senior leader Ambika Soni has asked the party leadership to relieve her of her duties as the party’s in-charge of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. The Congress leader has requested the party to relieve her of her duties due to health reasons. News wire agency ANI quoted Soni as saying, ”I have requested the party leadership to relieve me as the in-charge of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh”. Soni’s resignation does not bode well for the Congress Party as the state of Himachal Pradesh will be going to poll later this year. Earlier this year the Congress party had lost the election in Uttarakhand. The Congress party had also lost the Shimla Municipal Corporation elections earlier this year. The BJP had won 17 wards in the Shimla Civic body polls while the Congress only managed to win 12 wards. Shimla Municipal Corporation had been a Congress stronghold for 15 years before the elections, according to an Indian Express report.
The Shimla Municipal Elections had been seen as a key victory by the BJP as the election can be seen as a precursor to the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections which will be held later this year. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh is under the lens of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for financial irregularities. The BJP is planning to target the Virbhadra-led Himachal Pradesh government on the issue of corruption and on the Chief Minister’s governance model.
The resignation of Ambika Soni coming at this stage is certainly not good for the Congress. Ambika Soni had also played a key role in order to resolve the infighting between Virbhadra Singh and State Congress President Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala meanwhile has said that the news of Ambika Soni’s resignation from the party has been planted and that the news is absolutely baseless.