The CBI has filed a chargesheet against Singh after a prolonged hearing in the Delhi high court.
New Delhi: Even as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) close their nets around Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbadhra Singh, the Congress party faces the dilemma of whether to continue with the former Maharaja as the party’s face in the poll-bound state.
With the Congress’ fortunes dwindling across the country, Mr Singh is the strongest leader that the party has in the Himalayan state. However, the BJP has decided to target not only the chief minister, but also Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on the party’s continuing support to a chief minister who has been indicted by two probe agencies.
The CBI has filed a chargesheet against Mr Singh after a prolonged hearing in the Delhi high court. Also, the ED has filed a case under the PMLA and attached his son’s farmhouse. The ED had asked Mr Singh to appear before it, but he has sought more time to do so. Now he is slated to appear before the ED on April 20. The chief minister has repeatedly questioned the CBI and the ED probes, claiming that it was a witch-hunt by the Centre.
The Congress is now in a quandary on how to move forward if any of the agencies take action against Mr Singh. The grand old party is not very keen to replace Mr Singh as that would cause instability in the hill state. Presently, the Himachal Pradesh chief minister has given no indication of stepping down and make way for a smooth transition of power. There are several senior leaders of the Congress in the state who can replace the current incumbent. But, the Congress top brass presently is not inclined to initiate a change, though it would not be averse to the idea if it comes from the state.
In the present climate, the Congress doesn’t want to be seen abetting tainted leaders. On the other hand, if the Congress high command takes any tough decision, it could risk another 2012-like situation when Mr Singh threatened to breakaway from the party.