Shimla: Facing a daunting task to win back Himachal, Congress has taken Major Vijay Singh Mankotia back into the party and would be fielding him as the election candidate from Shahpur seat in the politically sensitive Kangra district.
Over phone from Delhi, Mankotia let Hill Post know that after holding meeting with senior congress functionaries for the past three days, “procedures of re-joining Congress have been completed and I would be contesting the Shahpur seat from Kangra on the party ticket.”
The party would be make a formal announcement about my joining Congress tomorrow, he added.
The congress is also slated to declare its election candidates on the same day.
Prior to joining the Congress, he said a meeting with former union minister Virbhadra Singh was held on Thursday in which many of the issues that drew them apart over five years ago were settled.
Regarding the contentious CD that allegedly holds a 24 year old recorded telephone conversation about illegal money transactions between Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha Singh with a deceased bureaucrat that was made public by Mankotia in June 2007, he said “the issue is in court and was not discussed at the meeting with Virbhadra Singh.”
Mankotia said that a senior Congress functionary contacted him three days ago and said that they needed him to rejoin the party as the election was very crucial for them.
Mankotia fell out with Virbhadra Singh and Congress party after he was dropped from the ministry in the 2003-07 term, when the government was forced to downsize ministries to implement a constitutional amendment about limiting ministers to a defined ratio of their legislative memberships.
After having made the audio CD public in June 2007, Mankotia joined BSP and put up candidates on all 68 seats in the 2007 fall elections.
Though the party won only on one seat, with Mankotia also losing he election from Dharamshala seat, the vote share that the party grabbed was held responsible for much damage done to traditional Congress vote bank.
To bridge the fragmentation of Congress votes, the party has been forced to fall back on Mankotia, who has been politically inactive for over four and a half years.