The time before the Lok Sabha elections this year did not augur well for the two-year-old Himachal Lokhit Party, as one leader after the other rejoined the Bharatiya Janata Party. Scion of the erstwhile ruling family of Kullu and HLP chief Maheshwar Singh is upset over his colleagues deserting him at the eleventh hour, but at the same time, he is hopeful that his party would emerge as the third alternative.
Many prominent leaders from your party have deserted you, especially when Lok Sabha elections have been announced.
This is election time, which is like autumn. Leaders come and go, but it should be noted that none of the HLP’s founders have abandoned the party. Those who left are the leaders who had opposed the party’s merger with the Bharatiya Janata Party, and they should tell people the reason behind their change of heart. They have not been welcomed wholeheartedly.
Did the BJP persuade you to contest against chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh from Mandi?
Yes, I got an offer to contest the Lok Sabha electiosn from Mandi on the BJP ticket. I got a call from the BJP’s top leadership regarding my return to the BJP, but I asked my core committee for opinion. It opposed my return to the party, citing that the old issues like corruption went unheard in the BJP.
You have always adopted a soft stance on the ruling Congress. Your opponents term you and your party the ‘B’ team of the Congress.
What opponents say does not make any difference, but we need to explore the reality. I contested the Lok Sabha elections against Virbhadra Singh in 2009 on BJP ticket. If the BJP’s leadership at that time had worked for my victory, there would have been no Virbhadra Singh in the state politics today. Some of BJP’s leaders back-stabbed me, helping Virbhadra win by a meagre margin of nearly 14,000 votes. You tell me who the ‘B’ team of Virbhadra Singh is.
Your opponents, especially those who deserted your party recently, accuse you of a proCongress stance. You even went with a dance troupe to the CM’s private residence to felicitate Pratibha Singh on her win.