Congress stalwart from Himachal Virbhadra Singh suffered a double debacle on the eve of Diwali on Friday when his wife Pratibha Singh, who vacated her Lok Sabha seat for him, was denied party ticket for the coming Assembly byelections and a no-confidence motion was moved against Ms. Chander Prabha Negi his close confidante and chairperson of the Shimla Zila Parishad.
Ms Pratibha Singh, who was the Lok Sabha MP from Mandi earlier was trying hard for the Congress ticket from Rohru Assembly seat. In fact, she was already into the second phase of campaigning along with her son and husband Mr.Virbhadra Singh, who is also the Union Steel Minister.
Big arrangements were done on Friday in Rohru for the filing of nominations by the “Rani Sahiba,” as Ms. Singh is called in villages of Rohru, said her supporters.
The party high command has instead chosen Manjeet Thakur, a BDC leader as its nominee from the area. Earlier, Mr. Singh’s supporters had managed to send only the name of Ms. Pratibha Singh after a due recommendation from the district Congress committee.
Two youth leaders Harinder Rawat, Zila Parishad member and Manjeet Thakur had directly applied to the PCC chief for the party ticket much to the discomfort of Mr. Singh and his family.
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi during his recent visit to the State had indicated that family rule should be brought to an end in the party and called it a bad trend for organisational growth. The youth Congress leaders from the area also objected to the dynastic rule of some senior leaders in the party. Surprisingly, Mr. Singh’s son Vikram Aditya who is just out of school was campaigning for his mother and that irked the other youth and they raised their voice for the first time against Mr. Singh, the undisputed leader from Rohru and Rampur constituencies, said insiders.
The recent FIR lodged against Mr. Singh by the State Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau was also taken into consideration by the party high command, they added.
A no-confidence motion was moved against Mr. Singh’s close confidante, Chandra Prabha Negi, chairperson of Shimla Zila Parishad by 13 members out of 23 in the present house. The House was so far dominated by his supporters from Rohru and Rampur. Now the known Congressmen comprising Moti Lal, Vijay Singh Rathore and Sarojini from his area have revolted along with other BJP and independent members, said the Congress sources.