Putting to rest speculations of discord in the Congress, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) chief Virbhadra Singh attended a party rally at Theog in favour of Congress candidate from the constituency, Vidya Stokes. Stokes filed her nomination papers and is contesting the assembly polls for the 8th time.
Congress supporters started pouring in at the venue from 9am and the crowd swelled to 5,000 when Virbhadra Singh arrived at around 4pm after filing his nomination papers.
The constituency will see a fight between five candidates as besides Vidya Stokes, Rakesh Singha (CPM), Rakesh Verma (BJP) and Pramod Sharma (TMC) and an independent Ram Lal Sharma are in the fray. "The presence of Virbhadra Singh does matter, considering that the seat is likely to be closely fought. His appeal for votes for Stokes definitely matters," said a party worker.
Addressing the rally Virbhadra Singh said that BJP candidate Rakesh Verma had proved to be an 'inconsistent' leader with his attention shifting between Theog and Chopal in previous polls.
"Vidya Stokes is a senior Congress leader, who has contributed a lot in bringing about development in the area and would continue to do the same in future."
Stokes said that the presence of Virbhadra Singh was a clear message that Congress wanted to come back to power for the development of the state.
"Under Virbhadra's leadership, the Congress will come back to power. The state has progressed under his leadership, whenever he had been given a chance."
She stated that these would be her last elections. Stokes claimed that the Congress had been solely responsible for development in the Theog-Kumarsain area.