For five-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh, probably contesting his last assembly election, this one would be the most gratifying. The septuagenarian spoke of the Congress win at his Holy Lodge home in Shimla.
What is the one factor that led to the Congress making a comeback?
The Dhumal government’s mal-administration was responsible for the BJP’s defeat. It could not spend Rs. 10,000 crore provided by UPA government for different welfare schemes in Himachal even though it kept accusing the Central government of discrimination. This year, around Rs. 3,000 crore remain unspent.
You have been chief minister on five occasions. Will there be a sixth time?
Congress president Sonia Gandhi will decide… I know my place well in the hierarchy.
There are reports that the high command wanted to convene the Congress Legislature Party meeting in Delhi but you refused?Congress MLAs will meet in Shimla. Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, as observer, will be visiting Shimla to hold consultations.
You were appointed the state Congress chief just before the elections. Did that make your job tougher?
I do feel that our performance could have been better if we had a little more time.
The BJP made plenty of allegations against you in the elections.
The BJP did not waste any opportunity to malign my image. But I am a man of substance.
When do you propose to release the book you have written?
It may take another 5 years.