Shimla: Congress veteran Virbhadra Singh, who helped his party wrest Himachal Pradesh from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has emerged as the front-runner for the Chief Minister’s post.
The Congress drubbed the BJP in Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls, winning 36 out of 68 seats on Thursday. The BJP, which had got 41 seats in 2007, was down to 26. This time six independents, mainly the BJP rebels, also won.
Congress’ gamble of dispatching Virbhadra Singh to Himachal Pradesh to lead the Assembly Elections campaign paid off well. The Congress veteran was sent to the hilly state at a time when he was facing corruption charges, but the election results show that Virbhdara still holds his fort in his home town.
The five-time chief minister, who led the party`s campaign in the state, was elected by a record margin of 20,000 votes.
After winning the elections Virbhadra said that he had put in his "best efforts" in the polls and it was for Sonia Gandhi to decide the party`s chief minister.
"I had been given the brief to bring the party back to power and for that I had put in my best efforts. It is for our national leader Sonia Gandhi to decide who will become the Chief Minister," Singh said while speaking to reporters.
Though, Virbbhadra has left the final decision to the Congress high command, it is unlikely that he would be ignored for the top post.