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...Two months ago, during the last session of the outgoing state assembly, former BJP Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal launched a scathing attack against Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh for being “corrupt” and running a ‘mafia raj’, and demanded that he resign on moral grounds. Virbhadra was unprovoked. Counselling Dhumal to cool down, he told the leader of the Opposition that the way BJP was treating him in the run-up to the polls, it was he (Virbhadra) who would turn out to be of greater help. It certainly has turned out that way. Virbhadra Singh seems to have virtually forced the BJP to declare Dhumal as its Chief Ministerial candidate for the November 9 assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh. After the Congress declared him, the octogenarian veteran, as its Chief Ministerial face, the BJP was under tremendous pressure to clear the air on the leadership. ...Indian Express on Nov. 2, 2017, 4:04 p.m.
... He is known as the ‘Raja” of the hills, a politician who wears velvet gloves but doesn’t like to give up battle and is well-known for springing surprises and political upsets in a career that began when Jawaharlal Nehru was still alive. Perhaps that is why, against all expectation and conventional wisdom that the Congress needs to project a clean and more youthful image in Himachal Pradesh, chief minister Virbhadra Singh, at 83 years of age and tainted by CBI corruption cases, has once again won the party’s endorsement as its chief ministerial candidate for the November 9 Assembly elections. Plus he is the only mass leader that the Congress has in the state. Sections of the Congress party are voting with their feet against Virbhadra’s nomination as the party’s chief ministerial face. Animal husbandry minister Anil Sharma, son of veteran Congress politician and former communication minister Sukh Ram, has delivered the first big blow by resigning to join the BJP. ...Indian Express on Oct. 18, 2017, 9:17 a.m.