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Cong gears up for 2022 assembly polls, tribute to Virbhadra to be a key slogan

The lunch diplomacy is being considered as an attempt to show unity and strength amid BJP leaders time and again raising the issue of Congress not having any CM face in the run up to assembly polls scheduled to be held next year.

SANJEEV KUMAR | Shimla |

Buoyed by the recent clean sweep overruling BJP in Himachal Pradesh, the state Congress party unit is all geared up for 2022 assembly polls with a tribute to former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, to be a key slogan to gain power in the state.

To show unity against the BJP leaders for being leaderless after Virbhadra’s demise, state party leaders including PCC chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore, the Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri, MLAs Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, Kaul Singh Thakur, Sudhir Sharma, Asha Kumari among others gathered at Holly Lodge for lunch yesterday.

The lunch diplomacy is being considered as an attempt to show unity and strength amid BJP leaders time and again raising the issue of Congress not having any CM face in the run up to assembly polls scheduled to be held next year.

State Congress secretary Baldev Thakur said the Congress leaders had gathered at the former CM’s residence on the invitation of Mandi MP and wife of Virbhadra Singh, Pratibha Singh and Shimla (Rural) MLA Vikramaditya Singh to prepare strategy for assembly elections.

“In the meeting, all the Congress leaders who had gathered at Holly Lodge, asserted that they will fight the elections unitedly and the win will be a tribute to Virbhadra Singh who had worked for the all round development of Himachal Pradesh,” he told The Statesman.

Thakur stated that the meeting was also a response to the ruling BJP in the state that Congress party was united and all the MLAs and party office bearers will work to ensure party’s win in the upcoming assembly polls.

Besides, the charge of the party being leaderless in the state by BJP will hold no significance as there will be 68 strong candidates in assembly polls to face the ruling party and give befitting replies to their charges in the elections.

“Pratibha Singh gave clarion for contesting the assembly elections with full strength to which PCC chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore and other senior Congress leaders agreed.

The issue of CM will be decided after winning the elections,” he added.

It is worth mentioning here that Pratibha Singh’s win in Mandi parliamentary constituency, the home turf of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, had maintained the hold of Holly Lodge as was the case during Virbhadra Singh’s lifetime.

The lunch diplomacy was also being considered as a show of strength by the former CM’s family and it means that Pratibha Singh and Vikramditya Singh will have significant say in state politics in coming days.

The message from the meeting was quite clear for the ruling party that Congress is united in elections despite various factions vying for CM’s post as was the case during bypolls to Mandi Lok Sabha seat and assembly segments of Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal Kotkhai.