Upset with Cong, Mankotia now weighing his options | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Upset with Cong, Mankotia now weighing his options

Upset over being ignored by the Congress during All-India Congress Committee vice-president Rahul Gandhi's rally here, former minister Major Vijay Singh Mankotia is now weighing his options regarding his next course of action.

punjab Updated: Mar 24, 2014 19:23 IST
Naresh K Thakur

Upset over being ignored by the Congress during All-India Congress Committee vice-president Rahul Gandhi's rally here, former minister Major Vijay Singh Mankotia is now weighing his options regarding his next course of action.

Even as political circles are abuzz with rumours about him being likely to join the Bharatiya Janata Party, Mankotia, who has 30 years' experience in electoral politics, says he would consult his followers and comrades before taking a decision.

Mankotia, who is currently holding a series of meetings with the electorates in his constituency, will hold a larger gathering of supporters and well-wishers next week to decide on his next step.

“Though I have received offers from the BJP, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and many other political outfits, I have left it to my supporters to take the call,” Mankotia told HT.

“I had decided to quit politics, but most of my supporters want me to contest as an independent to avenge the humiliation the ex-servicemen were subjected to during Rahul Gandhi's rally at Dharamsala,” he claimed.

He alleged that the Congress leadership was “deliberately ignoring” him. “I have been the president of the Himachal chapter of the Indian Ex-servicemen League for the last 30 years, but they did not bother to invite me to an event that was totally for ex-army men,” he alleged.

He added that same thing happened when President Pranab Mukharjee visited Kangra to attend the convocation of the Central University of Himachal Pradesh (CUHP). “Great injustice has been done to the ex-servicemen fraternity, and we will not sit silent this time. For how long can one tolerate such humiliation,” Mankotia alleged, adding that he would hold a meeting with supporters from across the state next week to decide on the next line of action.

Mankotia alleged that the Congress had also ignored the Rajput community, which formed a considerable vote bank in Kangra.

Sources told HT that the BJP was trying to persuade the leader through various backdoor channels, including former Army chief General VK Singh, who has already joined the party. Mankotia has close proximity to Singh and had organised a mega felicitation programme for him here in 2012.

Speculations are rife that if Mankotia agrees to the proposal, he may be fielded from the Mandi parliamentary constituency, where the party is still scouting for candidates.

Mankotia admitted that he has been approached by the BJP, but refused to divulge the name of the leader who approached him.

Mankotia, who won his first polls from Shahpur in Kangra as an independent in 1982, has rebelled against the party earlier. He had won as the Janata Party candidate in 1990, rejoined Congress in 1993 and again quit in 2007, after falling out with chief minister Virbhadra Singh, and joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).

He had also released a controversial compact disk against Virbhadra. He was taken back into the party just before the 2012 assembly elections. He contested from Shahpur and lost to BJP's Sarveen Chaudhary by a narrow margin.