New Delhi: The Congress on Friday made efforts to mollify former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh after the septuagenarian leader offered to resign from party panels set up to boost preparations for assembly polls scheduled later this year.

Party general secretary Digvijay Singh on Friday met Virbhadra Singh in a bid to pacify him.

Ahmed Patel, political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, also met Virbhadra Singh during the day.

Sources said Virbhadra Singh had offered to resign from the party committees over the way the party campaign was being built up in the state.

They said Virbhadra Singh was peeved over the composition of the campaign committee and manifesto committee and his non-inclusion in the screening panel constituted by the party on Tuesday also came as a surprise to his associates. The manifesto committee is chaired by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.

Virbhadra Singh, who is also a member of the panel, did not attend its last meeting. Sources said that the party had named Virbhadra Singh as chairman of the campaign committee but appointed its members without consulting him.

The screening panel, which will have a major say in deciding tickets for candidates, is chaired by Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.

Its members include Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh, party general secretary Birender Singh, state Congress chief Kaul Singh Thakur and legislative party leader Vidya Stokes.

Sources said Virbhadra Singh, a five-time chief minister and a popular face of the party in the state, is keen to have a say in distribution of tickets to ensure that his loyalists were not left out.

Virbhadra Singh had resigned from the Manmohan Singh cabinet last month in the wake of a Shimla court order in a 23-year-old corruption case.

(Agencies)

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