Seeking to justify patch-up with his bete noire and expelled Congress leader Vijai Singh Mankotia, party’s Himachal Pradesh chief Virbhadra Singh today said this was in the larger interest of the party.
Singh expressed confidence of bringing the Congress party back to power in the state. “I have left the personal issues behind and facilitated readmission of Mankotia into the Congress in the interest of the party and to defeat the BJP in the ensuing Assembly polls,” Singh said while addressing Congress workers at the state party headquarter. However, the state’s party chief did comment on the infamous CD case, which had landed him in a soup and also the defamation case filed by him against Mankotia.
Singh parried all the quires regarding the scandal. Replying to a question whether he was consulted on the re-entry of Mankotia into the party and fielding him as party candidate from Shahpur constituency ahead of polls, Singh said that “I wrote to the party for this as I believed that this move will strengthen party’s base in Kangra. It was a move purely guided by the larger interests of the party though personally I still have cases pending against him”, he said. “Mankotia is a senior leader and would be contesting Shahpur constituency where he wields considerable influence,” Singh said just before setting out for a whirlwind election tour of the state.
He readmitted former NSUI president Atul Sharma, who had contested election against Vidya Stokes in 2007 and exhorted the other leaders who had left the party for one reason or the others to come back and work for ouster of “corrupt” BJP government in the state. Alleging that land, forest, education, mining, real estate and other mafias were ruling the roost under the BJP regime, Singh said that “sale of Himachal and dubious benami land deals is a issue in the elections and after the elections Congress will thoroughly enquire all the allegations in this regard after coming to power”.
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