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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Virbhadra Singh back in the saddle for fifth time
Press Trust of India, PTI
Shimla, March 06, 2003
First Published: 16:41 IST(6/3/2003)
Last Updated: 16:41 IST(6/3/2003)

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, the indomitable 'Raja' of an erstwhile princely state, is back in the saddle for a record fifth time in two decades and has always emerged victorious under trying circumstances.

The 69-year political heavyweight of Himachal with a career spanning over four decades, entered electoral politics as a member of Lok Sabha member in 1962. He was elected to Lok Sabha in subsequent elections in 1967, 1972 and 1980 and became Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh in April 1983.

He was again sworn in as Chief Minister on March 5, 1985, after he led the Congress to power with a thumping majority in the mid-term Assembly polls. Singh was the Raja of the Rampur Bushair state.

The Congress party regained power in 1993 Assembly elections with massive majority and Singh was once again sworn in as chief minister.

Singh had been a Chief Minister in all for 11 years in four spells with the last stint lasting just 18 days when he failed to win a confidence vote in 1998.

The 1998 Assembly elections, held nearly one year in advance, elected a hung Assembly but the Governor invited Singh to form a government as leader of the single largest party and he was sworn in as chief minister for the fourth time on March 6, 1998.

However, he resigned before proving his majority in the state Assembly on March 12 and Prem Kumar Dhumal tookover from him on March 24, 1998.

Singh also remained deputy minister for tourism in the Union ministry headed by Indira Gandhi in 1977 and also served as Minister of State for Industry in the Union ministry from September 1982 to April 1993 when he was tipped as new Himachal Chief Minister.

Singh has been a member of the state Assembly from 1983 to which he was elected for the first time in a by-election from Jubbal and Kotkhai constituency in 1983 and was reelected in March 1985 polls.

He shifted to Rohroo constituency in 1990 and won the successive elections in 1993, 1998 and 2003 from the same constituency.

Singh holds the record of winning all the Assembly elections with record margins. This time also he not only polled highest number of 32,617 votes but also won by a record margin of 17289 votes from Rohroo.

A student of history, Singh had his schooling in Bishop Cotton School, Shimla. He graduated from St Stephen College, Delhi and also did his post-graduation in history from Delhi University.

Singh remained president of Pradesh Congress Committee twice and led the party to victory in 1985, 1993 and 2003 Assembly polls.


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