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Pankaj Vohra, Hindustan Times
Mcleodganj, November 02, 2012
Himachal Pradesh Congress president and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh predicted on Friday that his party would get up to 40-45 of the 68 seats in the assembly elections on Sunday.

In a telephonic interview with HT, he said unsubstantiated and baseless allegations of corruption against him had been rejected by the people "who have great love and affection for me. Moreover, with (BJP president) Nitin Gadkari's scandal coming out into the open, the BJP does not know what to do. The corruption and misgovernance of the (PK) Dhumal government is a major factor and will now go against the saffron party."

On what will be his first task if he was made the chief minister, a fully confident Virbhadra said, "Naturally, I will clean up the stables. There is so much muck that has got accumulated here. There has been a lot of injustice. I will restore proper administration in Himachal for uniform development of the state".

Asked why his rivals had not campaigned during the elections, he said they were busy in their own constituencies. "I did go to Vidya Stokes' constituency for campaigning. Kaul Singh did not invite me, so I didn't go to Darang."

And, he does not think that elevation of Chandresh Kumari Katoch (who is married in Himachal but represents Jodhpur in Lok Sabha) to the Union Cabinet would help the party in Kangra area. "We were already doing well here."

Asked whether the party should have been more careful in drafting of the manifesto as there were discrepancies between the Hindi and English versions, he said he was not aware of this "as I was campaigning and Anand Sharma (Union minister) was looking after the manifesto". How was he planning to deal with his detractors in the party? "They are all friends. I will try to carry everyone with me," he answered.