Will retire from electoral politics after one more tenure: Virbhadra Singh
It’s my good health that keeps me going, says the 83-year-old, on the campaign trail to win the hill state for the Congress and get a seventh term as chief ministerHimachalPradeshElection2017 Updated: Oct 29, 2017 22:32 IST
On the campaign trail to win the hill state for the Congress and get a seventh term as chief minister, Virbhadra Singh, 83, acknowledges the battle with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will be tough. The veteran, however, is confident the Congress will retain power.
Taking on the BJP’s strategy to corner him on corruption charges, and law and order — especially the rape and murder of a schoolgirl in Kotkhai — the veteran leaders tells Gaurav Bisht he will retire from electoral politics after completing one more tenure.
How different are the elections for you this time?
I have fought many political battles. I have my own style of campaigning. The entire BJP leadership is focused on me. They see me as the most prominent leader in the Congress. From Prime Minister Narendra Modi to chief minister of other states, they are focused on Himachal. We are fighting a tough battle, but by god’s grace and the love of people, we will win.
“The entire BJP leadership is focused on me. They see me as the most prominent leader in the Congress.”
Are the elections PM Narendra Modi versus CM Virbhadra Singh?
I will not put it that way. It’s not a battle between me and Modi. BJP is targeting me because I am the most prominent leader.
Your son Vikramaditya Singh is making his electoral debut from Shimla-Rural seat. How do you view the BJP’s accusations that you are promoting dynastic politics?
I belong to a dynasty (royal family) and where is the problem in that? People elect me. Vikram is a young boy and sure to win.
How do you see your one-time rival in the party, former telecom minister Sukh Ram, switching over to the BJP?
Let the BJP follow what it preaches. I don’t want to talk much about Pandit Sukhram’s entry into the BJP.
What keeps you going at this age? Is this your last election?
It’s my good health that keeps me going. Today communication is advanced and traversing has become easy. I campaigned on foot for years. I will retire from electoral politics after completing one more tenure?
Will the rebels in the fray harm Congress prospects?
They are not rebels but rubble (smiles). It’s just that everyone has aspirations.