Rampur(HP): Absence of union Steel minister
Virbhadra Singh at filing of nomination by Congress candidate
for Rohroo assembly seat apparently to show ire over denial of
ticket to his wife on his home turf on Monday brought out
differences within the party.
Sans Singh popularly known as "Raja Sahib" here, state
Congress president Kaul Singh Thakur and others, filing of
nomination by Congress greenhorn Manjit Singh Thakur for
by-election to be held on November 7 was a lacklustre affair.
Singh, who had represented Rohroo for the last 19 years
before moving to Delhi as a union minister, is reportedly
keeping distance from the by-polls to express anger over
denial of ticket to his wife Pratibha Singh referred to as
The veteran Congress leader was in Shimla for Diwali, but
left for national capital yesterday on the pretext of some
"prior engagements there".
"I had met Singh to seek his blessing and requested his
presence during filing of nomination, but he said that he had
some prior engagement and hence cannot be present," Manjit
Singh Thakur said to a news agency.
Thakur, who applied for ticket at a later stage despite
Rohroo block Congress committee recommending sole name of
Pratibha Singh for the by-election, however, said, "He
promised me to devote considerable time for campaigning."
Not only Singh, but also his supporters in Rohroo also
kept distance from Thakur. Neither chief of Shimla rural
Congress Vidya Sagar nor Rohroo block Congress general
secretary Dinesh Chauhan joined the procession of party
candidate to file nomination on Monday.
Chauhan instead claimed he and over two dozen other
office bearers of the block Congress have tendered resignation
over denial of ticket to Pratibha Singh.
The poor show of the Congress candidate could be gauged
from the fact that while thousands used to accompany Singh
during his nomination filing, the strength today was not more
than 300, a Congress leader said.
Thakur was the first candidate to file nomination today
for Rohroo seat and submitted his papers before BR Kamal,
Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Rohroo.
Ruling BJP is fancying its chance to snatch the Rohroo
seat from Congress by cashing on the `disenchantment` of
The saffron party has fielded Khusi Ram Balnatah, who had
been loosing to Singh in the assembly polls since 1993.
This is the last chance for Balnatah to register a
victory from Rohroo, as the seat will become a reserved one
from next election due to delimitation.