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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

At 78, Virbhadra hits campaign home stretch

Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times  Indora/Dharamsala, October 31, 2012
First Published: 00:17 IST(31/10/2012) | Last Updated: 00:18 IST(31/10/2012)

Virbhadra Singh has set a frenetic campaign pace in the home stretch of the November 4 Himachal Pradesh polls, putting in more than 15 hours each day to convince voters to bring the Congress back to power.

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At 78, the former five-time chief minister and state Congress chief is criss-crossing the hill state in choppers and SUVs, reaching out to the electorate at rallies and inspiring party activists to knock on every voter's door.

"I am tireless and the other party (the ruling BJP) has roped in a battery of national leaders, but they are unable to keep pace with me," Singh said after addressing a rally in Indora, Kangra district earlier this week.

There is talk of prestige, honour and even political future being at stake for Singh in what is being billed as his last major campaign, but he does not comment on such theories.

Beginning early in the morning, he pursues a punishing schedule through the day before winding up late at night. Singh's assessment of his energy levels is simple. "My food habits keep me fit. I still walk during the campaign."

Singh is not bogged down by the recent controversy over alleged payoffs by a steel major to a "VBS", widely speculated to be him. Singh has denied being "VBS".

On the BJP targeting him on the issue, he said, "I am used to this. They have implicated me in false cases before."


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