Virbhadra: Donít need the tag of CM candidate
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The Congress has betted heavily on five-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh to regain Himachal. At 78, he is racing against time to cover all 68 seats before campaigning comes to an end on Friday. But in doing so, the erstwhile raja says he is not bothered by the party not announcing him as the chief ministerial candidate.
"The party by tradition does not name the CM candidate nor do I need the tag. I am a highly motivated party worker and happy getting stupendous response to my rallies and public meetings in the state," he said.
But like in many other states, Congress is a divided house in Himachal. A sulking Virbhadra was brought in as the state president barely two months ahead of the elections while Kaul Singh was replaced with Vidya Stokes as the CLP leader. But Virbhadra says he is not bothered by his rivals, those who can stake a claim to the CM's post if the party happens to get a majority.
"I am above groupism and not bothered by it. Right now, the focus for everyone in Congress is on winning Himachal. Anyone indulging in anti-party activities and groupism will be expelled," he said, adding that even with campaigning for 10 to 12 hours everyday, covering five constituencies a day, he can put in 10 more hours of work.
While addressing rallies, his digs at Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal are only satirical. He targets the BJP government on its many failures, mainly on "poor" infrastructure. "Did the government give your area any new schools, colleges, hospitals or roads," he asks the voters. Then tells them, "All they have done is indulge in misdeeds from land grabbing to bungling in central schemes. All of it will be investigated once Congress comes to power."
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