Shimla: Supporters of union minister Virbhadra Singh picked the occasion of the veteran leader turning 77 on Thursday to show solidarity with him by turning up in large numbers to celebrate a birthday function at his residence here.
With the minister of micro, small and medium enterprise have indicated his preference of returning to state politics over contesting the parliamentary poll again, supporters, which included many present and past congress legislators, turned up to wish the aging leader.
Intriguingly, in full page advertisements in newspapers of supporting congress leaders congratulating Virbhadra on his birthday had conspicuous omissions. Whereas names and pictures of several congress legislators and former MLAs appeared, prominent absentees were state congress president Kaul Singh Thakur, congress legislature party leader Vidya Stokes, AICC general secretary Asha Kumari, senior congress leader GS Bali and Sukhwinder Singh Sukku.
One congress leader who found his picture in the advertisement, on conditions of anonymity said that he did greet the senior leader on the occasion but he had not authorized anybody to use his name for such a partisan display of factionalism.
Among several prominent leaders, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh greeted his cabinet colleague through a fax message and chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal called up to convey his wishes on the occasion.
Photo by Amit Kanwar