‘Making Virbhadra HPCC chief was a choice between devil and deep sea’

It was a choice between the devil and the deep sea. That is how four-time MLA and senior Congress leader Asha Kumari describes Virbhadra Singh's appointment as Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president.

The party candidate from Dalhousie Assembly constituency also doesn't see the beleaguered PCC chief as a chief ministerial candidate.

"There are no chances of that," Asha said when asked whether Virbhadra will be the party's leader, if Congress returned to power.

However she added that the state leaders will abide by any decision taken by the party high command. "It is our responsibility to inform the party high command about the scenario in the state. If the high command still insists that Virbhadra will be the party's chief ministerial candidate, we will accept the decision," she added.

Coming from a senior party leader, Asha's statements can lead to fresh trouble for Virbhadra who is nursing chief ministerial ambitions and had managed to get tickets for most of his loyalists. However, the former chief minister, for now, is already in the thick of controversy with the BJP levelling allegations of bribery, money laundering and forgery against him.

Asha admitted that the corruption charges against Virbhadra and the controversies pertaining to his tenure in the Union Steel Ministry, have already dented party's prospects and image in the run up to November 4 elections. The controversies will be a deciding factor, she said, adding that the Congress still stands a chance securing at least 40 out of the total 68 seats.

On the rebel factor in Congress, Asha said, "It is not very disturbing. The situation is same in BJP as well."

Targeting the Prem Kumar Dhumal-led BJP government in state, she said that people have realised that they committed a mistake by bringing BJP to power. "The same mistake will not be repeated this time. There is a wave of change in the state." Meanwhile, a former education minister of the state, Asha, who lost to BJP's Renu Chadha in the last Assembly elections by a a margin of 2,065 votes, is not taking any chances this time and is campaigning in the villages for at least 16 to 18 hours every day.

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