The Newz Radar
MANDI: With less than a year away for the next Lok Sabha elections, Congress MP from Mandi Pratibha Singh has caused embarrassment for her party as she said during a public meeting that the voters of Jogindernagar Assembly segment had allegedly sold themselves for money.
Pratibha, the wife of six-term Himachal Chief Minister late Virbhadra Singh who is also the Himachal Congress president, made the statement while addressing people at Chauntra tehsil of Jogindernagar in Mandi district on Saturday.
On a four-day tour to her constituency, Pratibha ticked off a gathering that she was addressing at Chauntra alleging they had sold themselves off before a financially powerful BJP contender from Jogindernagar. “Aisi charcha sunane mein milti hai ke Jogindernagar ke log bik gaye (Have the voters of Jogindernagar pledges their support in lieu of money?),” she said.
The Congress leader’s statement created a furore among those seated in the gathering. Sensing an unease in the public, Congress leader and party’s contender from Jogindernagar, Surinder Thakur, immediately interrupted her speech and hushed up the matter while asserting that they had voted in her favour during the parliamentary byelection in 2021.
Pratibha, appearing miffed over the Congress defeat from Jogindernagar in the recent Assembly elections, continued with her speech after a brief pause, without tendering an apology.
This is not the first time that Pratibha has courted a controversy. She had stirred a hornet’s nest by describing the Kotkhai rape and murder of a school girl, infamous as the Gudia murder case, as “chhoti si vardat” (a minor issue) during a rally during the Assembly elections last year.
The political atmosphere in Himachal heated up just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Shimla last year when she said that “if a Chief Minister visited the houses of people, the dignity of the post was lowered”. Recently in Manali, she gave a mouthful to an administrative officer from the stage itself apparently on a complaint that some works were not done.