Presenting a united face of the Himachal Pradesh Congress,Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh alongwith all his 10 cabinet colleagues,PCC chief Sukhwinder Sukhu and veteran leader Sukh Ram accompanied former MP Pratibha Singh as she filed her nomination paper for Mandi parliamentary seat,the election for which is scheduled on June 23.
Later,addressing a rally,the Chief Minister made an emotional appeal to the voters of Mandi asking them to bless him on his 80th birthday (June 23) by voting for his wife.I dont want anything else from you (voters) except this gift on my birthday, he added.
The event turned into a mega show of strength by the CM in support of Pratibha,who has been given the ticket after she earlier was denied a chance to contest the Rohru bypoll and later the 2012 Assembly elections. She will now be contesting for the seat vacated by her Chief Minister husband.
Seeking support for her,Virbhadra detailed his achievements as Chief Minister during his earlier tenures when Mandi witnessed all-round development,and now during past four-and-half months rule when new initiatives like skill development allowance for unemployed youths,free travel for students in HRTC buses and special subsidy scheme for all ration card holders have been taken.
He also tried to highlight former Union minister Sukh Rams by reminding the people about the telecom revolution in Himachal and country.
The Chief Minister also took on the BJP and accused its leaders of playing a divisive politics. The BJP misused the technology and resorted to illegal phone tapping of Congress leaders and others. I was targeted in particular and cases were framed against me and many other political rivals of the BJP.
He said action will be taken in all cases of misuse of power and scams during the previous BJP regime. Vigilance is holding an inquiry. No one will be spared, he said.
Addressing the gathering,Sukh Ram praised Virbhadras vision and experience. He (Virbhadra) may be younger to me in age,but is an able leader and better than me, he said. Pratibha assured that she will not leave any stone unturned for Mandis development and will try to reach out to every village after winning the polls.