Shimla | TNR
Virbhadra Singh, 87, who was Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh for six terms and current Congress MLA from Arki assembly seat, passed away at 3.40 am after a prolonged illness.
His last rites would be performed on July 10 at his ancestral home in Rampur.
Himachal government has declared state mourning till July 10 and a holiday in all government offices on July 9. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted to express his sorrow and offer condolences.
Singh had been found corona positive on April 12. He was admitted to Max Hospital in Chandigarh from where he had returned to Shimla on April 30. However, his condition deteriorated once he was back in Shimla and he had to be admitted to Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMC) where he was diagnosed corona positive again on June 10.
Two weeks later he was declared out of danger and recovering following which he was shifted to the cardiology department in the hospital. He was on a ventilator from Monday due to a problem with his breathing.
Last rites in Rampur
His last rites would be performed in Rampur. On Thursday his body was kept in his home, Holy Lodge, for people to offer their condolences. The body would be kept at the Ridge in Shimla on July 9 from 9 am to 11.30 am for the public to offer their condolences. Subsequently, the body would be taken to the Congress office in Rajiv Bhavan and then to Rampur at 6 pm. At Rampur, on July 10, his body would be kept at the Padam Palace till 2 pm and then be taken for the last rites at 3 pm.
Singh was born on June 23, 1934, at the home of Raja Padam Singh of Bushahar state. He did his schooling at Bishop Cotton School, Shimla, and graduated with honours from St Stephen’s College in Delhi. Singh was introduced to political life by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Political track record
Singh holds the record so far of having handled the reins of the Himachal Pradesh government for six terms. He was first the CM from 1983 to 1985. His second term was from 1985 to 1990, third from 1993 to 1998, the fourth term was for a few days only. His fifth term was from 2003 to 2007 and then the sixth term was from 2012 to 2017.
He had successfully contested for the Mahasu Lok Sabha seat in 1962. He was elected to the Lok Sabha again in 1967, 1971, 1980 and 2009.
He was Union minister of state for tourism and civil aviation from 1977 to 1978 in the Congress government led by Indira Gandhi and then went on to become the Union minister of state for industries from 1982 to 1983. He was also a Union Cabinet minister from May 28, 2009, to January 18, 2011, in the UPA government led by Dr Manmohan Singh. Initially, he handled the steel ministry and later micro, small and medium enterprises ministry.