Will form government with majority, says Virbhadra

Shimla, November 11: It is Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s “never say die” attitude that kept the fund and resource-starved Congress in the fight in the Assembly elections with the Congress stalwart still exuding confidence of returning to power.

“I am confident that the Congress will be forming the government with a comfortable majority,” he says, sitting in the cozy winter sun in the well-manicured lawns of his private residence “Holly Lodge.” His two labradors and one-year-old granddaughter trotting around are too happy to see him around. His wife Pratibha Singh also spent the day at home after days of hectic campaigning.

He, however, refrained from giving any magical figure of the seats Congress was expected to win. Surrounded by supporters, he today spent a relaxed day at home taking feedback from supporters who came to meet him and over telephone from all over the state. “I know the state like the palm of my hand and have toured every part, so there is no doubt in my mind that we are returning to power,” he says.

Had it not been for the indomitable fighting spirit of the 83-year-old six- time Chief Minister, the electoral battle could have been one sided. With odds heavily stacked against him in terms of age, health issue and corruption charges, Virbhadra emerged as the star campaigner for the Congress as AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi spared only a day to address three election rallies at Paonta Sahib, Kullu and Nagrota Bagwan.

“I certainly do not consider the just-concluded elections as a fight between me and PM Narendra Modi. He is Prime Minister of India, there is simply no comparison,” he says modestly even as a parallel was drawn between the two. Earlier deciding to go to the polls without a chief ministerial candidate, the BJP projected PK Dhumal as its chief ministerial candidate much later.

Though not happy with the ticket allotment in about four segments, including Shimla (Urban) and Nalagarh, he says better selection could have given advantage to the Congress. He says with all his bank accounts seized, he too could not give money from his own resources to help the candidates. “I am grateful to the high command that they tried to help us in conducting the elections but they could have done a little more,” is all he says on support from New Delhi. He, however, regrets that level of political debate during the polls. “I was surprised that all BJP stalwarts, including the PM, crossed all limits of decency, to say the least. People of Himachal appreciate sobriety and do not relish foul language, as it is not part of our culture,” he points out.

News source: http://www.tribuneindia.com