•, PTI
  • |
  • Updated: Jun 23, 2004 17:24 IST

Former Minister Sukhram has finally returned home. On April 12, 2004, he formally announced the merger of his Himachal Vikas Congress with the Indian National Congress. What had happened between Sukhram's leaving the Congress and rejoining it constitutes one of the most mercurial facets of Indian politics.

Sukhram burst on national scene in early 1990s as Union Communications Minister in Narasimha Rao's Cabinet. Those were the days of when India was having the first bite of liberalisation. Sukhram chew his part and thus was born the infamous "Telecom Scandal" or the "Sukhram Scam". The opposition BJP ensured that Sukhram was shunted out of the Government only to realise a little later that he was force to reckon with in native Himachal Pradesh due to his largesse. After being ousted from the Congress, Sukhram formed Himachal Vikas Party, which aligned with the BJP to form a Government in the state. The BJP-HVP combination did not last long and in time Sukhram too lost much of the old shine.

In 2002, Sukhram was convicted by a Delhi court and sentenced to three years RI for causing a loss of Rs 1.68 crore to the Government. Last heard, the Delhi High Court suspended his sentence and granted him bail. With that Sukhram came full circle, and rejoined Congress.

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