Pratibha Singh banks on Virbhadra’s charisma to connect with voters

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 11

Congress candidate from Mandi Pratibha Singh is seeking votes as a "shradhanjali" to "Raja sahib."

No novice to politics, not just in her capacity as the wife of a six-time Chief Minister but a former MP from Mandi, Pratibha (65) is whipping up the emotional quotient by focusing her entire speech on the persona of her husband. Pratibha has represented Mandi twice in 2004 and 2013, when she defeated Maheshwar Singh, former MP, and later Jai Ram Thakur, now Chief Minister.

Vote a tribute to late Chief Minister

I hope you all will pay your shradhanjali to Raja sahib by casting vote in favour of the Congress as this will be the real tribute to a man who dedicated his life to serving people.Rs Pratibha Singh, Congress candidate

At Jogindernagar in Mandi, she said she had decided to stay away from public life and devote time to "puja-path" but on the insistence of people she changed her mind. "Raja sahib is not with us physically, but his presence can be felt by everyone. People say they feel they have lost a family member in his death," she said.

The Mandi seat fell vacant following the death of BJP MP Ram Swaroop who had defeated Pratibha Singh in the 2014 poll. Interestingly, it is for the first time that her name appeared as Pratibha Virbhadra Singh in the Congress' list of candidates last week, evoking sharp criticism from the BJP.

"I hope you all will pay your last shradhanjali to Raja Sahib by casting your vote in favour of the Congress as this will be the real tribute to a man who dedicated his life to serving people," she said in her appeal. It was Virbhadra's name that gave her prominence, she added.

"I feel I was blessed to have got a husband like Virbhadra. Must have been the reward of my good deeds in my previous birth," she said in a choked voice.

She said her husband in his political career never took a day-off, be it Sunday or any other holiday. "He worked tirelessly to ensure that the needy and downtrodden get justice and the state progresses," she added.

She is also giving credit to the Congress for conceptualising and starting work on the Atal Tunnel by claiming that it was former PM Manmohan Singh who gave liberal funds for the project which has transformed the lives of people of Lahaul-Spiti. She assured people that she would fulfil all their demands, if she is given a chance.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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