New Delhi: Congress veteran Virbhadra Singh, who has completed 50 years in active politics, sees his long political stint as a "fulfilling" experience.
His supporters have planned a rally in Shimla on June 23 to mark the completion of Singh`s five decades in active politics in May this year. The event is important as the state is scheduled to go to polls later this year and Singh with his mass base can play an important role in to play to bring Congress back to power there.
Singh had entered Lok Sabha for the first time in 1962 from Mahasu constituency when Himachal Pradesh was part of Punjab. There is no other member in the present Lok Sabha to have entered the lower House before him.
In his long career in politics, Singh has served as Chief Minister of HP five times in the past. Presently, he is Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in the Manmohan Singh ministry. HP became a separate state in 1971.
The senior Congress leader thanked his party for reposing faith in him for so long, saying, "I have faced many challenges during the last 50 years in politics and I look upon my long stint as a fulfilling experience."
"I have always been a loyal soldier of Congress and worked sincerely on whatever responsibility the party has entrusted me with," Singh, the sixth term MP from Mandi constituency, told PTI.
He said now his desire is to see that the "corrupt" BJP government is dislodged in the coming Assembly polls in HP and Congress returns to power to carry out the development work for the poor.
"The Prem Kumar Dhumal government has pushed HP
backwards...Corruption and sale of land to the outsiders is rampant," Virbhadra Singh said.
Singh, along with other Congress leaders, has started campaigning for the Assembly polls scheduled to be held in the state by the end of this year. Recently, he addressed party rallies in Dharamshala and Nahan to gear up party workers for the coming polls.
On the occasion of 60th anniversary of first sitting of Lok Sabha in May, he had said over half-a-century has passed but the kind words of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to him asking him "to keep eyes and ears open but mouth shut" to gain learning experience in Parliament continue to ring in his ears.
Praising Singh for successfully spending a long time in politics, Congress MLA Kush Parmar, who is also son of Yashwant Singh Parmar, considered as the founder of Himachal Pradesh, said "he commands a lot of respect across HP because of the good work he did as CM in the past."
Congress MLA from Chamba district Kuldeep Singh Pathania described Singh as a "wonderful politician who is credited with building basic infrastructure of Himachal Pradesh which came into being in 1971." His colleagues Mukesh Agnihotri and Sudhir Sharma said Singh is "tallest leader of HP."