In his last battle, Virbahdra buries hatchet with all his adversaries | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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In his last battle, Virbahdra buries hatchet with all his adversaries

The saying that 'in politics there are no permanent friends or foes, but only permanent interests' holds true once again with Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee chief Virbhadra Singh burying the hatchet with one of his foremost foes - former union telecom minister Sukhram.

chandigarh Updated: Oct 28, 2012 23:37 IST
Gaurav Bisht

The saying that 'in politics there are no permanent friends or foes, but only permanent interests' holds true once again with Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee chief Virbhadra Singh burying the hatchet with one of his foremost foes - former union telecom minister Sukhram.


Sukhram who first won the assembly election in 1962 as an Independent, was a minister in the Congress government led by Ram Lal Thakur and then a minister in Virbhadra Singh government. Much against his wishes, Virbhadra pushed him out of the state politics.

After being elected to the Lok sabha from Mandi segment, Sukhram became the telecom minister in Narsimha Rao cabinet. Sukhram's popularity grew in the state as he revolutionised the telecom sector in Himachal.

Sukhram was a frontrunner for the chief minister's post in 1992, having the backing of the then Prime Minister. However, Virbhadra once again exhibited his strength and even threatened to split the party. The move worked in Virbhadra's favour and he became the chief minister, widening the chasm between the two leaders.

Sukhram's political career took a plunge when the Central Bureau of Investigation raided his houses in Delhi and Mandi and seized Rs 3.6 crore in cash. Sukhram blamed Virbhadra for orchestrating the raids. After being thrown out of the Congress, Sukhram floated his own Himachal Vikas Congress, which won five seats in 1998 and helped the BJP form the government in the state. He became the Public Works Department minister in the Dhumal government. He submitted a charge sheet against Virbhadra, but the CBI gave him a clean chit. Sukh Ram again returned to the Congress and sought ticket for his son Anil Sharma, who remained a minister in the Virbhadra Singh government in 2003.

But now when Virbhadra is fighting his last electoral battle, the veteran leader has buried the hatchet with Sukhram. Both the leaders on Saturday not only shared the dais but also heaped praises on each other.

Just prior to the elections, Virbhadra shook hands with his one-time detractor Vijai Singh Mankotia, who had realeased the controversial compact disc that contained telephonic conservation purportedly of Virbhadra and his wife Pratibha with the former IAS officer, Mohinder Lal. It was Singh Virbhadra facilitated Mankotia reentry into the Congress and later even campaigned for him in his Shahpur constituency.

Virbhadra was also hostile to Congress legislature party leader Vidya Stokes. Having close ties with 10, Janpath, at one time Stokes was one of the strongest contenders for the CM's post. She was appointed as the CLP leader when Congress was drubbed in 1990 elections. Stokes, 85, who too is fighting her last election had mended fences with Virbhadra last year during the Panchayati Raj Institution polls. Since then both had been maintaining cordial relations with each other and supportive to each other.