It was touted as a patch-up that could help the faction-ridden Congress sail through the November 4 Assembly elections. However,days after Major Vijay Singh Mankotia and former chief minister Virbhadra Singh buried the hatchet,the cold vibes between the two came to fore on Tuesday when they shared the stage during a Congress rally in Shahpur assembly constituency in Kangra district..
While Mankotia,in his address to the public,emphasised on the fact that Virbhadra made the first move to bring him back to Congress,the latter insisted that he will always hold a grudge (against Mankotia) for not being fair (to Virbhadra) in his personal life.
It is politics. You never know,who sides with whom. When Virbhadra called me to Delhi,I agreed. The party (Congress),through the Intelligence reports and the surveys which it had got conducted,realised that by throwing me out of the party,they had suffered a loss of around eight per cent in its vote bank. They asked me what could be done about the charges against Virbhadra. I made it clear that the matter is sub-judice. If I back out at this stage,I will be hauled up by the court. Thus,we should let judiciary decide the matter. However,later we can see how things turn up,Mankotia told the Indian Express.
Virbhadra on his part confirmed that bringing Mankotia back to the party was my own personal decision. I dont have any malice against him (Mankotia),but I am hurt that he did not do good with me in my personal life. I always held a grudge,have it and shall continue to have it forever, he added.
Mankotia was the one,who had allegedly brought out a compact disc levelling corruption charges against Virbhadra,on the basis of which the Himachal High Court framed corruption charges against the former CM.
While Mankotia,during his address,promised that if Congress comes to power,Shahpur will definitely get an office of Sub-divisional magistrate,Virbhadra did not sound much excited about the idea. About the office of SDM in Shahpur,I can not say that at this stage whether we will get it here or not. I wish I am in such a capacity to do that, Virbhadra said in his address.
Mankotia,who is known for changing his political affiliations,had a few months ago ridiculed UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and various other Congress leaders,including Virbhadra,in a rally organised in Kangra,by the ex-servicemen of Himachal Pradesh. He had then shared the stage with then Army Chief General VK Singh. However,on Tuesday Mankotia was all praise for the Congress party.
When questioned on his changed stand,Mankotia said,That time the situation was different. The party has realised that it needs me and the people of Shahpur also want me to contest from here. I agreed since I have won from this constituency five times. It is a miracle that Congress has reunited and people will benefit from this.
The only time both Virbhadra and Mankotia stood united during the rally was when they targeted the Prem Kumar Dhumal-led BJP government in the state and accused the saffron party of having pushed the state on the path of backwardness and poor development.
If Dhumal and Shanta Kumar can come together,why not I and Virbhadra Singh? With our reunion,it is only the BJP,which is getting sleepless nights, Mankotia said,adding that the Congress leaders,including Rakesh Singh Pathania,Rana Onkar Singh and Jitender Guleria,who did not get the party ticket this time,are united and working for the Congress.