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ViewsEditorialWhy Anand Sharma resigned from top Congress post

Why Anand Sharma resigned from top Congress post

In a big jolt to the Indian National Congress (INC) ahead of assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, Anand Sharma, a senior leader of the party, resigned from the chairmanship of the party’s steering committee for the state on 21 August. In a letter to INC president Sonia Gandhi, Anand Sharma said that his self-respect was ”non-negotiable” and that he had resigned from the post, sources said. He later tweeted that he had resigned with a “heavy heart" and that he would remain a “lifelong Congressman".

“Committed to Congress ideology that runs in my blood, let there be no doubts about this! However, given the continuing exclusion and insults, as a self-respecting person- I was left with no choice," he tweeted.

Sharma’s resignation comes soon after another leader of the G23 grouping — a faction of senior party leaders who have been pressing for collective leadership in the party — Ghulam Nabi Azad resigned as chairman of the campaign committee in and Kashmir a few days ago

Anand Sharma told the INC chief that he had been ignored in the consultation process. However, he told Gandhi that he will continue to campaign for the party candidates in the state.

The party had appointed the former union minister and deputy leader of the INC in Rajya Sabha as chairman of the steering committee in Himachal Pradesh on 26 April.

Both Ghulam Nabi Azad and Anand Sharma are prominent leaders of the G23 faction which has been critical of the decisions of the party leadership. The grouping, comprising prominent veterans including and Manish Tewari, has been insisting on genuine elections right from the block up to the CWC level.

Anand Sharma, who is considered among the tallest leaders of Himachal Pradesh, has reportedly told the INC president in his letter that his self-respect has been hurt as he has not been consulted or invited to any of the meetings of the party.

The INC is seeking to wrest power from the BJP in Himachal Pradesh in assembly polls scheduled to take place later this year, but the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) will be a third contender this time.

Anand Sharma, who first contested assembly elections in 1982 and was given a Rajya Sabha ticket by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984, has been a Rajya Sabha member since then, occupying several key positions in the party.

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