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Virbhadra Does an Amarinder, Seeks Free Hand For Himachal Assembly Poll

The six-time chief minister is at logger head with Himachal Pradesh congress Committee (HPCC) president Sukhvinder Singh and has reportedly asked for a free-hand in deciding party affairs in the state.

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Updated:August 30, 2017, 5:13 PM IST
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Virbhadra Does an Amarinder, Seeks Free Hand For Himachal Assembly Poll
File image of HP Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. (Image: PTI)
Shimla: The chorus in Congress for the leadership of Virbhadra Singh is growing, with one minister on Wednesday demanding that the party should go to the next Assembly polls under the leadership of the Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, who is unhappy and has said he would not contest the elections.

The six-time chief minister is at logger head with Himachal Pradesh congress Committee (HPCC) president Sukhvinder Singh and has reportedly asked for a free hand in deciding party affairs in the state.

Virbhadra is in Delhi for a court appearance and is likely to hold talks with senior party leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, party sources said.

Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes said there is no substitute to Singh in the party and the Congress high command should give him a free hand for the Assembly elections this year-end. She gave the example of Amarinder Singh, saying the party had won in Punjab because of his leadership.

Stokes is the third minister after Animal Husbandry Minister Prakash Chowdhary and Health Minister Kaul Singh to say that the party should contest under the leadership of Singh.

"Virbhadra Singh is the only capable leader who could win the elections for Congress party and there is no substitute to him, Stokes said in a statement issued here. She said that during the 2012 assembly polls, the Congress party was in a problem and she had suggested the name of Singh to lead the party in the state The proposal had resulted in a landslide victory for the Congress, despite defeat of the party in nearby Punjab, she said.

It was possible due to the rich experience and hardwork of Virbhadra Singh that ensured victory for Congress party, Stokes said. She emphasised that a strong regional leadership was important in elections as public has more faith in regional leadership.

In this context, she cited the example of Punjab, saying the victory of the Congress party in the assembly elections was possible because of strong regional leadership of Capt Amarinder Singh and that his leadership played a catalytic role in victory of Congress.

She said the BJP was only creating a hype and did not enjoy the support of the masses who were aware of failures of the NDA government at the Centre.

"Moreover, the tussle for leadership in the state BJP will hamper its poll prospects," Stokes claimed. Singh has already said that he would neither contest the assembly polls nor lead the party in the polls. Singh is said to be unhappy with the functioning of Himachal Pradesh Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukkhu and wants him to be replaced before the polls due in November this year.

(With PTI inputs)
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