Shimla, July 15: After much deliberations and dilemma over Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, realising that the phase after his interrogation in an alleged case of corruption could test the party in the run-up to the crucial Assembly election campaign, the Congress has finally decided to back its chief minister in the state. Mr Singh will be the face of the party in upcoming Assembly elections, which are scheduled to be held in December this year.
Mr Singh and his family members are under scanner of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the alleged corruption and money laundering cases.
There were murmurs in the Congress to replace the chief minister due to the ongoing cases against him. However, the high command has decided to strongly back Mr Singh, after realising that presently he is the “tallest leader” of the party in the state.
Mr Singh has already dubbed the charges against him as saffron “vendetta”. The state has seen power alternating between the Congress and the BJP in the last couple of terms.
“We have replaced enough leaders on mere charges of corruption and have suffered in the past. While the BJP battles it out,” a senior Congress leader told this newspaper. Now, the ability to win elections is the sole criteria for projecting the leader in the elections.
Earlier, Himachal Pradesh transport minister G.S. Bali had said that the upcoming election will be fought under the name of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. While loyalists of Mr Singh have already started projecting him as the next chief minister face of the party, state unit chief Sukhvinder Sukhu has also spoken about collective leadership.
In 2012, Mr Singh had decided to quit the party after being denied the reins of the state unit. His looming exit forced the party high command to give in to his demand. The Congress him the party’s face and defeated BJP in Assembly elections.
However the Congress does not plan any changes in the present arrangement in the state.
Source Asian Age