If Congress comes to power in Himachal, credit must go to Virbhadra: Sukh Ram

Sukh Ram

In a surprise development that should boost Virbhadra Singh's chief ministerial ambitions, former Union minister Sukh Ram on Sunday threw his weight behind the Himachal Congress chief and asserted that if the party wins in the hill state, credit should go to Virbhadra.

Sukh Ram, once a bitter critic and fierce political rival of the Congress president, on Sunday described Virbhadra as a leader with vision and devotion, who, he added, worked hard and campaigned for the Congress in all of Himachal's 68 Assembly constituencies. He, however, remained non-committal on categorically endorsing Virbhadra's name for the chief minister's post.

"It's up to the Congress High Command to decide on the leader. I think the party will name a person, who has the potential to wrest all four Parliamentary seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Everyone knows who can accomplish this task," Sukh Ram said. The former Union minister, however, ruled himself out as a chief ministerial aspirant.

Addressing a press conference here, Sukh Ram, who has stayed away from the limelight for a while now, said the Congress was likely to win. "I presume that the Congress will form the government as I noticed the trend of the people towards the party during the campaign in Mandi and Kullu and where ever I went," said the veteran Congress leader.

On being asked if the Congress will have a clear majority to form the government, Sukh Ram said: "It's a very close contest. BJP president Nitin Gadkari is also talking about his party winning in Gujarat and Himachal. That could be true for Gujarat but it's not possible here. Maybe, the Congress will need the support of two or three other MLAs to form the government."

On PCC president Kaul Singh Thakur's claim that the next chief minister will be from Mandi, Sukh Ram's hometown, he said: "The High Command will have to weigh many factors while deciding on the Chief Minister. It will not make a person as Chief Minister,if he can't help the party win all four Lok Sabha seats in 2014."

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