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7 Bishop Cotton alumni in fray for Himachal assembly

The school, founded in 1859, is one of Asia’s oldest schools and has produced many such leaders who are now known faces in Indian politics.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2017 19:04 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Himachal Pradesh,Shimla boarding school,Virbhadra Singh
Virbhadra Singh(HT File)

What’s common between Virbhadra Singh, Vikramaditya Singh, Rohit Thakur, Vijai Singh Mankotia, Harish Janartha, Vinay Kumar and Ashish Butail? Apart from the fact that all of them have an eye on a Vidhan Sabha seat, the leaders can boast of having passed out from the same school.

The seven leaders are alumni of Shimla’s famous Bishop Cotton School. The school, founded in 1859, is one of Asia’s oldest schools and has produced many such leaders who are now known faces in Indian politics.

Virbhadra Singh, the scion of erstwhile royal state of Rampur Bushar, and the six-time chief minister of Himachal Pradesh passed out of the school in 1951. The 83-year-old leader had initially joined Colonel Brown School and then moved to Bishop Cotton. The leader, popularly known as Raja Sahab, was known to have excellent academic records. What’s more, he is also said to have won many prizes in school debates. Singh also served as the captain of Ibbetson House.

His son, Vikramaditya Singh, who is making his electoral debut this time has also spent a decade in the school.

Virbhadra’s arch rival Vijai Singh Mankotia too is an alumnus of the school. Mankotia, a retired major and a sword of honour holder from the Indian Military Academy, is contesting from Shahpur assembly constituency this time again. The retired major, who entered the political fray in 1982 will be contesting the ninth election of his political career. He has also served as the vice-chairmen of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Corporation chairmen but was dropped following his differences with Virbhadra Singh.

Apart from that, former chief minister Ram Lal Thakur’s grandson, Rohit Thakur, who is contesting his third election from Jubbal constituency this time. Rohit, who won twice from his grandfather’s constituency, says, “The spirit of camaraderie that the school infused in me is what keeps me going in the elections. I remember the school motto—Overcome evil with good—when the going gets tough.

Another school alumnus, Harish Janartha, known for his sportsmanship is also contesting his second election from Shimla urban this time. Janartha who was denied a Congress ticket is contesting as an independent candidate.

Chief parliamentary secretary Vinay Kumar is contesting his second elections from Renuka, a constituency that his father held for long. Ashish Butail, the son of Vidhan Sabha speaker Brij Bihari Butail, is making his political debut from Palampur.

First Published: Oct 24, 2017 16:06 IST