Disgruntled Congress leader Major Vijay Singh Mankotia on Monday extended support to party candidate from Kangra Chander Kumar, but the chief minister’s blue-eyed boy, vice-chairman of the forest corporation, Kewal Singh Pathania, came under fierce attack from the former minister.
Mankotia, who held a meeting with his supporters at Shahpur, said he had convinced his followers to work in favour of Kumar in spite of skepticism about Virbhadra Singh’s move to forge a truce with him.
Mankotia said his relationship with Virbhadra was in “the worst phase” before elections to the state assembly, as they were entangled in a legal battle. “At that time, the Congress leadership and Virbhadra approached me, after which, I agreed to settle the issue,” said Mankotia.
“However, a leader from Shahpur who is very close to the CM and seeking ticket from this constituency disliked the peace between us,” alleged Mankotia, in a veiled attack on Pathania.
The former minister alleged that the leader played a “negative: role in the assembly elections and sabotaged the Congress campaign, which resulted in his defeat by a narrow margin.
“As soon as assembly elections were over, Virbhadra’s attitude changed as well,” said Mankotia, adding that he was being “ignored” and his position in the party undermined since that day. “None of my projects were approved by the CM during this one-and-a-half year period, while the person who worked against the party was given prominence,” he alleged.
Accusing Pathania of “destroying” the Shahpur unit of the Congress, Mankotia said he was running the block congress unit like a ‘captive organisation’. “My people were fed up with the Congress and this so-called Shahpur leader, who is neck-deep in corruption and involved in’ wrong deeds,” alleged Mankotia.
Maintaining that now was the right time to speak, Mankotia said, “I had raised the issue with the CM when he visited me recently and asked him why a leader who is notorious for his wrong doings is being promoted and given a plum post in the government.”
Mankotia added that in Tuesday’s meeting, his supporters had passed a resolution pledging support to the Congress candidate, but demanded that Pathania be shifted outside the Shahpur assembly segment and removed from his post.
“We have opened an office at Shahpur for campaigning but will not work with those leaders who sabotaged the party in the assembly elections,” said Mankotia. “We will not remain silent this time,” he added.