Shimla: Its going to be a habit hard for congressman to kick up of not using Raja Sahib title before any individuals names in accordance with a diktat issued by the AICC organizing committee, for former chief minister Virbhadra Singh is not just a Raja but has been publically addressed just so for about three decades here.
Talking about the directive, Kaul Singh Thakur, Pradesh congress president said, â€œAICC organizing secretary Janardhan Trivedi has written to all state congress presidents that party workers be asked not to address any congressman by adding the titles of Raja, Rani, Kanwar or Tikka.â€
â€œI have passed on the instructions to district and block units as well as heads of other frontal organizations. Addressing individuals with these feudal titles will not be allowed at any party functions that are held in the state,â€ said Kaul Singh.
While Virbhadra loyalist say that it is another attempt to belittle and sideline the senior leader, others say that the diktat is only an indicator of leadership change the party is trying to usher in the state.
However, this is not the first time the title Raja Sahib and its association with five time former chief minister Virbhadra Singh has been in the news for the wrong reasons.
Being the scion from the royal house of Bushair, with palaces at Rampur and Saharan, Virbhadra Singh is perhaps the last Raja who signed the agreement of accession with the union of India after attaining Independence in 1947.
However, a film titled â€˜Kohramâ€™ that was released in 1999 had raked up a controversy in the hill state for the villain of the film was not only named Virbhadra Singh but also was addressed as Raja Sahib, in close resemblance that was certainly not coincidental with the former chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.
The city then had witnessed violent protests over screening of the film. Seeking a restraining order against screening of the film, Virbhadra Singh had petitioned the High Court that the villain of the film not only bore his name but was also addressed as Raja Sahib, which was deliberately done to tarnish his image as he was popularly known as Raja Sahib both inside and outside the state. Allowing the petition the court had banned film.
With the new party diktat of not using feudal titles, it remains to be seen whether a whole generation of congressmen used to publically addressing the former chief minister as Raja Sahib are able to gather courage and discard use of the royal title.