New Delhi: Sulking Congress leader Virbhadra Singh has shot off a letter to party President Sonia Gandhi complaining of attempts to sideline him in the party in assembly poll-bound Himachal Pradesh and inclusion of some "unknown" state leaders in key election committees.

Seeking her intervention, Singh, a five-time Chief Minister, has warned the leadership that it would be difficult for the party to return to power if corrective measures were not taken immediately.

Earlier there were reports that Singh had offered to quit from all poll panels of the party but there was no confirmation available with the leader himself keeping away from the media.

The former Union Minister has in his letter alleged there is a "systematic approach to oust him" from state politics and said "those who matter in the state Congress are being sidelined", said sources close to him.

Singh has expressed his displeasure at the way the state campaign committee headed by him has been constituted without consulting him and included many "unknown" leaders in the state.
Concerned over the development, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh on Friday met the sulking former Union Minister at his residence in a bid to mollify him.

At the AICC briefing, party spokesman Rashid Alvi indicated things would be sorted out in Himachal Pradesh soon even as the party's Himachal affairs incharge Birender Singh denied reports that Virbhadra Singh has tendered his resignation.

The sulking Congress leader also skipped a meeting of the strategy panel in Shimla on Friday to be held under the charge of Birendra Singh.

Trouble has been brewing within the Himachal Pradesh Congress for quite some time now with Virbhadra Singh expressing his displeasure over the goings on.

Sources said Virbhadra, a prominent face of Congress in the state, had on Thursday met Ahmed Patel, Political Secretary to Sonia Gandhi.

Virbhadra, who recently resigned from Manmohan Singh cabinet in the wake of a Shimla court order in a CD case related to corruption, had earlier this week skipped a meeting of party manifesto committee held under Chairmanship of Union Minister Anand Sharma in Delhi. Sharma is a known detractor of Virbhadra Singh in state politics.

The term of 68-member Himachal Assembly ends in December.


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