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Virbhadra Singh hangs boots, says won’t contest LS elections

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Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Friday, July 6, declared that he won’t contest Lok Sabha elections any further. The 84-year-old also lashed out at his own party leadership in the state, holding them responsible for Congress’ debacle in Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections in 2017.

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Singh claimed that despite his repeated warnings, tickets were distributed to candidates who had no scope of winning. The six-time CM of Himachal Pradesh, however, refuted all rumours of rift within the party. He blamed the state cricket association for the cases against him, calling it a “political vendetta”.

“I was targeted because as CM I had gone after exposing the undue favours extended to the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association by (former CM) Prem Kumar Dhumal during his tenure. Dhumal had extended favours because his son (Anurag Thakur) was at the helm of cricketing affairs of the body,” he added.

The veteran Congress leader Virbhadra Singh also lashed out at the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) chief saying that continuing him at the top post will be suicidal for the party. He said this while talking to media persons on Saturday, on his 84th birthday at his residence Holly Lodge.

Virbhadra Singh said that the Congress party should elect the office bearers in its executive bodies democratically, as it is in the constitution of the Congress party to elect the executive and party president at every level, be it in the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), Block Congress Committee (BCC), District Congress Committee (DCC) or even All India Congress Committee (AICC).
“All should be elected and not nominated. Everyone at the national and state level is aware that I do not want a nominated party chief at any level,” he said.

The incumbent HPCC chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu has served as a party chief for over five years now, in violation to the Congress party’s constitution, he said, adding that it is time that he should quit and let a new chief be elected democratically.He said that he has been demanding stepping down of the incumbent HPCC chief Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu from the party high command and will continue to do the same.

“Continuing of Sukhu as HPCC chief will be suicidal for the party as the graph of the party under his leadership is decreasing over the years,” he said.

Replying to a question on his contesting the Lok Sabha elections, Virbhadra Singh said that he would not contest elections but will help other to contest, in order to pave way for the younger generation.

Further, he claimed that the “Modi wave” has faded and in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, people will vote on the issues concerning the nation. “Modi wave has faded. Moreover, the wave does not always persist. People will not vote in the next (Lok Sabha) elections on any personality, but on issues,” the veteran Congress leader said in a news conference here.

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