Went on to create history rather than teach it on Nehru’s advice
Shimla | TNR
It would not be wrong to term Virbhadra Singh, who passed away on Thursday after a prolonged illness, an accidental politician.
Wanted to be a history prof
He had wanted a career as a professor of History at Delhi University. He had graduated with honours from St Stephen’s College of Delhi University.
As history would have it when he met the first Prime Minister of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru, Singh was told by him that it is better to create history than just teach it.
Singh did exactly that for the next few decades before passing away. He created history by holding the reins of the state as Chief Minister six times in his 60-year-long political career.
Singh had himself narrated many times how Nehru had asked him to go serve his people of Himachal. It was not easy for him to mingle with people due to his royalty status but he ultimately won the peoples’ hearts.
At the age of 28, he contested the Mahasu Lok Sabha seat and won. There was no turning back for him after this victory.
Apart from the record number of times he became Chief Minister, he also was a member of Parliament five times and Union minister thrice.
Jolt for Congress
The passing away of Virbhadra Singh has left a void in the politics of the state. For Congress, the passing away of one of their principal stalwarts, is a jolt ahead of the 2022 assembly elections as well as the forthcoming three bypolls in the state, for two assembly seats and a Lok Sabha seat.
Another bypoll to be held
Preparations were already on for conducting bypolls for Jubbal-Kotkhai and Fatehpur assembly seats and Mandi Lok Sabha seat.
Now the state has to prepare to conduct another bypoll that for Arki assembly seat which was till Wednesday represented by Singh. Information has been relayed to the Election Commission of India about the vacant assembly seat and the dates for the bypoll could be announced anytime soon.
Father-son duo will not attend assembly sessions anymore
It was a sight which no one missed. Vikramaditya Singh, MLA from Shimla rural, accompanying his father Virbhadra Singh to assembly sessions. The young scion of the erstwhile royal family would now be attending the sessions alone. Social media was always quick to highlight the rapport between the father and son. In one instance when Virbhadra Singh had a coughing bout during the assembly session, Vikramaditya rushed to him with a glass of water. An emotional Virbhadra Singh kissed his son’s hand.
Strengthened the state’s foundation
The foundation for the state of Himachal Pradesh was laid by Dr YS Parmar but it was Virbhadra Singh who ultimately went on to strengthen the foundation in many ways. He has had the distinction of working shoulder to shoulder with the former Prime Ministers including Indira Gandhi, Rajeev Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao and Dr Manmohan Singh.