Terming poll a tribute to ex-CM won’t work for Congress: Brig Khushal Thakur (retd)

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 10

Having successfully waged many a battle, Brig Khushal Thakur (retd), Kargil war hero, has no doubts about his victory in the Mandi Lok Sabha bypoll. It is the switch over from a disciplined force to the flexibility of politics which he considers a greater challenge.

Thakur (67), who took pre-mature retirement in 2010 while serving as Station Commander at the Army Training Command here, had been appointed the Chairman of the HP Ex-servicemen Corporation, a post he gave up before filing his nomination. He worked as general manager with a private firm for five years which executed the Atal Tunnel project.

People are intelligent. Terming the poll a shradhanjali to Virbhadra Singh will not work.... Ex-CM was very mature and respected, but elections are fought on issues.

"I am in no doubt about my victory as I have won the toughest battles, but adapting from a strictly hierarchical and structural force like the Army to politics, which requires immense flexibility, will be a challenge for me," he said in an interview with The Tribune.

However, having vociferously raised the inadequate land compensation in the Kiratpur-Manali four-lane project, he is already used to a public life. He was a strong contender for the Mandi Lok Sabha seat even in 2014, when he lost the race to Ram Swaroop Sharma.

"People are very intelligent and terming the election a shradhanjali to former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh will not cut ice for the Congress," he said when asked about the sympathy factor that the Raja's wife Pratibha Singh is invoking to woo the electorate.

Virbhadra was a very mature and respected leader, but elections are fought on issues, he hastened to add.

"I have realised that a politician has the power to bring into focus people's issues and if I am elected, I will raise all core issues in Parliament," he remarked.

He is very firm in stating that he believes in constructive, positive and development-oriented politics with interest of the people being paramount.

"My agenda for the elections is to strengthen the infrastructure which in turn will give a fillip to tourism and in the process generate the much-needed employment," he outlines his priorities.

He says having served in the Army, he understands the strategic importance of strengthening infrastructure like all-weather roads, tunnels, good communication network in the border areas like Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti which share boundary with China.

"The execution of the Manali-Leh rail line project would not only be very crucial from the defence point of view but also for heralding economic prosperity in Himachal," he says.

Captured Tiger hill

  • Born on September 9, 1954, Brig Thakur (retd), passed out from the IMA in 1976.
  • He commanded the 18 Grenadiers during counter- insurgency ops in Kashmir and later in Kargil war.
  • Brig Thakur led his men to capture the Tololing Peak and Tiger Hill.
  • The unit received 52 gallantry awards, including one Param Vir Chakra, two Maha Vir Chakras and six Vir Chakras.
  • He was also part of the UN peace-keeping mission to Sierra Leone and participated in Operation Khukri in July 2000 in which 225 persons were rescued.
Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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