New Delhi: After the poll debacle faced by Congress in Punjab due to infighting, party president Sonia Gandhi asked leaders of Himachal Pradesh to avoid a Punjab-like situation and stay united as the state goes to Assembly polls later this year, said sources.
According to sources, Sonia Gandhi took a jibe on party leaders, "You all are sitting together right but otherwise you don't even talk to each other." Congress Himachal Pradesh in-charge Rajiv Shukla was also present in the meeting.
Having lost Punjab to Aam Aadmi Party, Congress leaders briefed Sonia Gandhi about the present position of AAP in Himachal Pradesh.
"AAP is not an issue in Himachal Pradesh. Only those people who will not get tickets from BJP or Congress will contest from AAP's ticket," said Rajiv Shukla.
Sonia Gandhi deliberated on the AAP position in the state with the party leaders and asked them to prepare a poll strategy to take on rivals.
"All leaders from Himachal Pradesh promised Sonia Gandhi that they will remain united and a situation like Punjab will not be repeated there. Party leaders assured AICC president that state leaders will accept whatever decision the central leadership takes," said sources.
Sources say that state party president and legislature party leader can also be changed if the situation demands.
"Central leadership is not changing any officer bearers right now but the option is open," sources added.
The Congress had done well in the bypolls held in Himachal Pradesh last year, winning the Mandi Lok Sabha seat and three assembly seats. The party is trying to repeat this success in the upcoming assembly polls.
It was also decided in the meeting that the results party witnessed in the Mandi Lok Sabha seat and three other assembly seats will only be repeated if the party moves ahead together with a full proof strategy to take on the BJP.
After the demise of Virbhadra Singh, Congress is witnessing a vacuum in the top leadership in the state. There are many leaders trying to take the position of party's face in the hilly state but Anand Sharma is being seen as a frontrunner for that post.
However, his being a part of G-23 might emerge as a barrier for his candidature to lead the Congress in Himachal Pradesh. The 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly is due for polls in October this year.