At felicitation event,Virbhadra to demonstrate mass appeal

The union minister will mark celebrate 50 years in politics and his birthday today

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Published: June 23, 2012 3:19 am

The union minister will mark celebrate 50 years in politics and his birthday today

With Union Minister Virbhadra Singh set to mark 50 years in public life at Shimla’s Ice-Skating Rink on Saturday,the former chief minister has decided to use the event to demonstrate his political strength in the state.

The town has already been decorated with hoardings,posters and flex banners highlighting Virbhadra’s contributions to the state during half a century of his political life. Coinciding with his birthday bash,the event is being seen by his supporters as a turning point in his bid to lead to the Congress back to power in the Assembly elections,later in the year.

At least a dozen Congress leaders,led by former MP and OBC leader Chander Kumar issued a statement on Friday claiming that the party High Command,recognising Virbhadra’s potential,had already given him the task of overthrowing the BJP government. “No other Congress leader except Virbhadra Singh has such a mass following in the state. His 50 years of service is proof of his commitment to the people and the party,” said Chander Kumar.

The BJP,on the other hand,said the event affirmed the internal divisions within the state Congress. “ The felicitation ceremony is a manifestation of the intense power struggle in the state Congress. Virbhadra Singh was rejected by the people in 2007 and even earlier,but every time he tries to project himself as a champion of the people’s cause to upstage other Congress leaders,” state BJP president Satpal Singh Satti said in a statement.

“People are the ultimate judge to decide the stature or popularity of a leader and such sponsored samarohs are meaningless but an expensive proportion costing several crores,” he added.

Though Virbhadra has sent invites to several AICC leaders and his Congress colleagues in the union ministry,no important leaders from Delhi have so far confirmed their arrival.

Traffic woes

The Shimla administration,however,will have its task cut out,particularly with traffic arrangements as the town is likely to witness heavy inflow of tourists as well. Shimla is likely to witness chaos and traffic jams. Loyalist of Virbhadra on the other hand,have been told to make special arrangements to control the crowd at the Ice skating rink.

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