The two-day visit of the Congress general secretary Sushil Kumar Shinde to the politically significant Kangra district having 15 Assembly segments, brought to the fore deep divide within the state Congress that could cost the party dear in the forthcoming Assembly elections. Though Shinde tried to bring warring factions together, sources said that the effort did not yield much result. According to the sources Shinde called a meeting of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Transport and Technical Education Minister GS Bali on August 17 and tried to bring truce between two leaders. However, the meeting failed to yield any results. The Chief Minister ensured that almost all the Congress MLAs and leaders from Kangra district with the sole exception of GS Bali attend the workers meeting at Dharamsala. Virbhadra did not attend the workers meeting organized by GS Bali in Nagrota Bagwan. As per the sources the Chief Minister was to attend the police passing out parade at Daroh battalion at 2 pm, however, the program was rescheduled to be held at 11 am just to ensure that the Chief Minister did not attend the workers meeting held at Nagrota Bagwan, the Assembly constituency of GS Bali
According to sources barbs were exchanged between the Bali and Virbhadra Singh camps in the Kangra district Congress meeting held late in the evening, yesterday, at Kangra. The Chief Minister openly attacked his detractors in party in presence of Shinde and termed them as “black and white crows” in a meeting of party workers held at Dharamsala. He even appealed to the Congress workers to ensure defeat of such leaders, while Bali organized a rally in his constituency for Shinde to prove his strength in the district.
The rally became a platform for Congress leaders of Kangra who were feeling discriminated by the Chief Minister camp. In the rally zila parishad member from Jawalamukhi, Ruma Kaundal alleged that OBC leaders were discriminated against in the present congress government. Nikhil Rajour, former MLA and brother of Rajya Sabha member Viplove Thakur, also vented ire against the Chief Minister. HPCC president Sukhwinder Sukhu, who was targeted by the Chief Minister, maintained a low profile during the workers meeting. He was supported by GS Bali who said Sukhu should be respected. In return Sukhu also termed GS Bali as future of Congress in the state. Due to intense infighting in the Congress, Shinde issued measured statements in Kangra. He stopped short of stating that the party would declare Virbhadra Singh as a CM candidate in the forthcoming Assembly elections in the state but termed him as tallest leader of party.