Spurned by both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress party, Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) leader Sukh Ram has teamed up with smaller parties and contest all the seats in the Assembly elections.
Sukh Ram has announced at Mandi, his hometown 160 km from here, that his party and its allies would contest all 68 seats for which polling will take place on February 26.
"The HVC could not reach a poll alliance with the Congress or the BJP and so has decided to field candidates for all the seats along with smaller parties," he was quoted as saying.
He indicated that he would have tie-ups with the Communist Party of India-Marxist, Communist Party of India, the Janata Dal (Secular) and the Samajwadi Janata Party.
He blamed state Congress leader and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh for sabotaging a possible alliance between the HVP and the Congress.
"It was solely due to his rigid stand that an alliance could not be forged," he added.
A former Congress veteran, Sukh Ram floated the HVC in 1997 and gave support to the BJP when the 1998 elections threw up a hung assembly. The two have since parted ways.