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NEW DELHI, FEB. 28.
The appointment of Sukhbir Singh as Chairman Labour Board, has run into controversy. An upset party president, Sonia Gandhi, is understood to have sought an explanation from the AICC general secretary incharge Delhi, Kamal Nath, as to how a person who had worked and contested the 1999 Parliament elections against the Congress had been appointed to such an important post.
It is learnt that Ms. Gandhi, in a strong letter to Mr. Nath, has sought a detailed explanation on how a person with doubtful credentials had been appointed without the approval of the party high command. Strangely, the appointment and installation of Mr. Singh had been given great importance and was thoroughly highlighted in the media.
The Delhi Government, led by the Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, and the Industry Minister, Deep Chand Bandhu, worked overtime to install Mr.Singh. Such was the hurry that his name was approved and cleared within no time. While the notification of Hasan Ahmed as Chairman, Delhi State Industrial Development Corporation (DSIDC), is still hanging fire, neither the Delhi Government nor Raj Niwas lost any time to clear this controversial appointment.
Not only this, huge advertisements were placed in the print media to announce the appointment of Mr. Singh as Chairman, Labour Board, along with the other members, of the Board. A beaming Chief Minister and Industry Minister were highlighted along with the photograph of Mr. Singh. No valid reason has been given for spending such a huge amount of highlighting a political appointment. Mr. Singh had contested the 1999 elections on the Nationalist Congress Party ticket against the official Congress nominee. The manner in which the Sheila Dikshit Government has gone out to accommodate a rebel has raised eyebrows.
A number of senior leaders are understood to have brought this to the high command. It was following these representations that Ms. Gandhi asked Mr. Nath to send a detailed explanation.
``If people who had contested against the party and had rebelled against the leadership are going to be accommodated, then the morale of the loyal workers and leaders is bound to go down,'' a senior leader remarked.
What has upset the leadership is that while all other appointments were cleared, no such clearance was taken in this case. The explanation sought by Ms.Gandhi could well land the Chief Minister and Mr. Bandhu in trouble. Interestingly, while the Delhi Government lost no time in pushing through the appointment of Mr. Singh, it has till date failed to get Mr. Hasan's file cleared. Mr. Hasan's name was cleared by the party high command and announced by Mr. Nath and the Delhi Government through an official press release.
Similarly, the appointment of Mahinder Singh as Chairman, Shahdara Mandi, is also hanging fire. It is understood that Mr. Mahinder Singh's appointment is not being cleared as his choice by the party leadership is said to be against the consent of the Chief Minister. Earlier, this post was held by Kalyan Singh, a Sheila Dikshit loyalist.
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