Himachal Elections: Sonia Gandhi to campaign in September

Sonia Gandhi Himachal Pradesh ElectionsShimla: Congress president Sonia Gandhi will address public rallies in Himachal Pradesh next month in the run-up to the assembly polls, a party leader said today.

“Sonia Gandhi will address rallies in Shimla and Kangra in September,” Birender Chaudhary, Congress’ in-charge of Himachal affairs, told reporters.

He also defended the Congress central committee’s decision to replace the state party chief ahead of the polls.

He said Kaul Singh was replaced with Virbhadra Singh as part of a political strategy.

“Virbhadra Singh has been appointed new president to bring back the party to power in the state,” he said.

Virbhadra Singh, 78, who had served as the chief minister five times, is regarded in party circles as the tallest leader in the state with mass following.

On Virbhadra Singh contesting the polls, Chaudhary said: “If he desires, he can contest the elections.”

Elections to the 68-member Himachal assembly are due in December, but they are likely to be held in November.

Virbhadra Singh had Tuesday told reporters in New Delhi that he would contest the polls.

“I’ll keep contesting elections, either for the assembly or the Lok Sabha, since my life is dedicated to the service of the people,” he said.

He reached Shimla from Chandigarh Wednesday after holding several rallies on the way, receiving overwhelming responses.

The 78-year-old had resigned as the union micro, small and medium enterprises minister June 26 after a Shimla court order in a 23-year-old corruption case against him.


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