NEW DELHI/SHIMLA: The Congress has dissolved its unit in Himachal Pradesh, the party said on Wednesday.
However, the president of the state Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) shall remain unchanged, a press release signed by party general secretary KC Venugopal said.
In Shimla, state unit president Kuldeep Singh Rathore said that the All-India Congress Committee (AICC) has dissolved the unit with his consent and given him a free hand to reconstitute it.
Venugopal's statement said Congress president Sonia Gandhi had decided to dissolve the executive committees at the state, district and block levels in Himachal Pradesh with immediate effect.
In a state-level move, the Himachal Pradesh Youth Congress also dissolved executive committees of its two blocks in Bilaspur district.
Asked if the dissolution was a jolt to the faction led by his predecessor Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Rathore said, "No, it's not so. No faction exists in the party."
"The executive committees of the PCC, DCC and the BCCs have been dissolved to give me a free hand to reconstitute these for better functioning. This is for the first time in the history of the state Congress that the entire body has been dissolved," he added.
Rathore rejected factionalism charge, saying, "All senior party leaders, including former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, are taking an active part in the organisation programmes."
He said Congress Working Committee (CWC) member and the party's Himachal Pradesh incharge Rajni Patil had hinted at plans to dissolve the state unit while addressing a rally in Shimla on November 14.
The Congress leader, who was appointed the state chief of the party in January, said earlier he did not get much time to reconstitute the body due to the Lok Sabha elections and the assembly bypolls.
"So, I have been given an opportunity to appoint a new team as per my choice for the betterment of the party in the state," he added.
He said reconstituting the state unit was a big exercise.
"It may take some time as I have to reconstitute the unit after proper consideration of all the aspects," he said, adding that the state unit would be reconstituted in such a way that the party could return to power in the next assembly elections.
Rathore said dedicated workers, irrespective of their closeness with party leaders, would be given preference.
"I am fighting against anti-public policies of BJP governments in the state and at the Centre. Our recent protests have proved that the public is against the BJP governments. We want those party workers in the organisation who can fight on the road against the ruling party," he added.
On the party's performance in the recent assembly bypolls, the state Congress chief said the Congress had done well in the Pachhad segment.
"The victory margin for the BJP was very thin in Pachhad as compared with 2017. However, our performance was not good in Dharamshala as former minister Sudhir Sharma refused to contest at the eleventh hour," he added.