Shimla, July 7: Though it does not come as a surprise to most, the love-hate relationship shared by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Major Vijai Singh Mankotia (retd) took another twist on Thursday as the former minister was unceremoniously removed from the post of vice chairman of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Board. Considering the recent statements and utterance made by the firebrand leader from Kangra, especially on the issue of corruption, it was being expected that their relationship was bound to go sour, once again.
Within minutes of Mankotia sending an invitation to the media for a press conference on Friday, the notification about his removal was issued. However, the latest development only seems a re-play of the past as both stalwarts have fallen apart several times, only to make up sooner than later.“I was very much expecting it. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise. I knew the consequences of my plain speak,” remarked Mankotia.
He said he had been compelled to speak his mind as the acts of omission and commission of the Chief Minister were making him compromise his (Mankotia) position. Having lost the 2012 Assembly election from Shahpur on the Congress ticket, it was the 2014 that he was made vice chairman by Virbhadra on May 19, 2014.Often termed as an opportunist, the 78-year-old former army officer’s political career has been quite a roller coaster ride.
He took the electoral plunge in 1982 and was re-elected to the Assembly from his constituency of Shahpur in 1985, 1990, 1993 and 2003. He remained Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation in the Virbhadra Government on two occasions from 1995-1998 and later from March 2003 onwards. He is also the president of the Ex-Servicemen League Himachal.It was Mankotia’s interview to a vernacular daily that Virbhadra Singh must resign on moral grounds that precipitated the inevitable standoff.
He is learnt to have commented that the corruption charges being faced by Virbhadra were indefensible which obviously did not go down well with the Chief Minister.Even as speculation is rife within political circles about Mankotia’s plans to join the BJP, he says it is only tomorrow that he would unfold his plans.
He is likely to make level serious allegations against the government before he once again parts ways with the Congress. Even as Mankotia refused to elaborate on the reasons, as to why he continued in the government as vice chairman till now despite the corruption cases being almost four to five years, one thing is very clear that all along it has been more of a marriage of convenience for both him and Virbhadra.
Source Tribune India