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Lok Sabha elections 2019: At 84, Congress’ Virbhadra Singh is still a crowd-puller

At 84, Virbhadra Singh still wields considerable influence across the state, particularly in the upper Himachal that comprises Sirmaur, Shimla, Kullu and Solan districts. Singh still enjoys wide support amongst the Congress legislators, 21 in the 68-member house.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 14, 2019 01:41 IST
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Virbhadra Singh,Congress,Lok Sabha elections 2019
Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh is the oldest legislator in the Himachal Pradesh state assembly.(HT File Photo)

Senior Congress leader and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh is the oldest legislator in the Himachal Pradesh state assembly. His never say die image has kept him going in the state politics even after being ousted from power.

In his political career spanning over five-decade, he has been an eight-time legislator and a five-time Lok Sabha member. He has also been the president of the state unit of the Congress party four times.

Virbhadra Singh has also been the longest serving chief minister in Himachal Pradesh. He first took up the top job in the state in the in April 1983. He was sworn in as the chief minister for the record sixth time in 2012. Singh was the chief minister between 1983 and 85; 1985 and 1990; 1993 and 1998 and 2003 and 200, and from 2012 to 2017.

And at 84, Virbhadra Singh still wields considerable influence across the state, particularly in the upper Himachal that comprises Sirmaur, Shimla, Kullu and Solan districts. Singh still enjoys wide support amongst the Congress legislators, 21 in the 68-member house.

And the attempts of detractors to sideline him in the state politics have failed time and again. Singh’s tough posturing even compelled the Congress high command to remove Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu from the post of party’s state president.

The name of Virbhadra Singh, who heads the Congress party’s election campaign committee, is still doing rounds for the Lok Sabha seat from Mandi but so far, he has been reluctant to contest the election. The Congress still relies on his popularity to muster support for the Lok Sabha elections.

He is known for shifting his constituency ahead of polls. Virbhadra Singh, who has been named by the Enforcement Directorate in a multi-crore money laundering case and also accused of amassing disproportionate assets of over Rs 10 crore, has contested elections from Jubbal and Kotkhai, Rohru, and then Shimla rural constituency.

First Published: Mar 14, 2019 01:41 IST