Himachal Assembly Polls: Congress Leaders Leave Virbhadra Singh To Fend For HimselfHimachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has been left to fend for himself as Congress leaders seemed to have deserted the poll-bound state, which has entered its last phase of election campaign.

The party firepower seemed to be on the wane ahead of the 9 November single-phase polling in the Congress-ruled state. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to visit Himachal for only one day, on November 6, for addressing rallies in Paonta Sahib, Chamba, and Nagrota (in Kangra district). On Friday, Gandhi wound up his three-day, third-leg tour of Gujarat, which votes on 9 and 14 December.

Some local party workers said 83-year-old Singh is covering two or three districts by holding eight to 10 election rallies almost every day, while the party’s “star campaigners” stay put at Shimla hotels and state Congress office. They said, in the last 12 days Singh has held rallies in nearly 45, of the state’s 68, assembly constituencies, and though a helicopter has been placed at his disposal, he mostly travelled by road, which was tough in a hill state.

“By now, he has held more than 100 election rallies, and wants to cover all corners of the state before campaigning winds up,” they said.

While a bevy of Union ministers are addressing rallies and meetings, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been flowing in and out many Central ministers and top leaders from Delhi for campaigning in the state. Six helicopters and a huge fleet of vehicles for campaign and mobility have also been made available for the campaigning.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing a rally in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh’s largest and politically key district, queried if “Congress has run away after conceding defeat”.

When the BJP mocked the Congress for leaving their leader “to his fate”, the Congress retorted saying, their “pahalwan (Singh) is very strong — we know his capabilities to win the bout even from a tough situation”.

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