Himachal CM Virbhadra removes bête noire Mankotia from tourism board | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Himachal CM Virbhadra removes bête noire Mankotia from tourism board

Mankotia, who lost the last assembly elections on his home turf Shahpur to BJP’s Sarveen Chaudhary, was appointed vice-chairman in the government’s board and allotted an office in secretariat’s prime building-The Arms Dale.

india Updated: Jul 06, 2017 19:49 IST
HT Correspondent
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh.(Livemint Photo)

In a move that could escalate infighting in the ruling Congress, chief minister (CM) Virbhadra Singh removed his political bête noire Major Vijai Mankotia from the post of vice-chairman of Himachal Pradesh State Tourism Development board on Thursday.

Mankotia, who lost the last assembly elections on his home turf Shahpur to BJP’s Sarveen Chaudhary, was appointed vice-chairman in the government’s board and allotted an office in secretariat’s prime building-The Arms Dale.

On Thursday, chief secretary VC Pharkha issued a notification dropping Mankotia.

Mankotia had vented against the CM to the media a few days ago. “I was quite aware of the consequences,” Mankotia told HT over phone. “Rest I will elaborate upon the development to the media tomorrow at a press conference,” he said. However, state party chief Sukhvinder Singh said he was unaware of the development. Mankotia, a Virbhadra critic, had been in the Congress off and on.

He was elected to the state assembly from Shahpur assembly segment of politically significant Kangra district as an independent candidate in 1982. Soon Mankotia joined the Congress. He got elected for a second term in 1985 on a Congress ticket.

He contested the 1993 election as a Congress candidate and won. He played a key role in Virbhadra becoming the CM when the latter was facing a stiff challenge from veteran leader Sukhram. However, in the next election in 1998, Mankotia faced his first defeat and lost to BJP’s Sarveen Chaudhary but came back in 2003. He was made tourism minister in Virbhadra-led government.

Before the 2007 assembly elections, Mankotia had a fall out with the CM and released a compact disc (CD), allegedly containing conversation of Virbhadra, his wife and a government official and charged them of corruption.