HP polls: Virbhadra Singh wins Arki seat

Arki (Himachal Pradesh) [India], Dec. 18 : Though his party could not retain power in Himachal Pradesh, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh managed to win from Arki with a lower margin of 6051 votes. He won by defeating BJP candidate Rattan Singh Pal. Meanwhile, Singh accepted the party's defeat in the state assembly elections, and took responsibility for the same. Singh while accepting his defeat averred that he could not lead the party towards victory because of lack of resources. "I accept the victory of BJP. I was the Chief Minister, I was leading the party here so I take responsibility of our performance," Singh told reporters here, and added, "the setback we received is because we didn't have resources to contest elections." Singh became the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh for the first time in April 1983 and held the post until March 1990. He was again appointed to the role between December 1993 and March 1998; and once more from March 2003. With reappointments within those years, this record amounted to him holding the office on five occasions. Between 1998 and 2003, Singh was Leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly. He was also president of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee from February 1992 to September 1994, and leader of the Congress Legislative Group. He was the president of the State Congress Committee in 1977, 1979 and 1980. In July 2012, he quit all key party posts, prior to the state elections of November 2012. Apart from his stint as chief minister, Virbhadra, between 1976 and 1977, held the national office of Deputy Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation in the central cabinet. He was the Minister of State for Industries between 1980 and 1983. From May 2009 to January 2011, he held the cabinet post of Minister for Steel. He then became cabinet minister with responsibility for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, until resigning from office in June 2012. The Bureau alleged that it had evidence in recorded conversations between the couple and various others concerning suspect financial transactions. While the couple was granted bail in December 2010, the same was asked to be reversed by the state government in April 2011 on grounds of alleged witness tampering. In a bid to defend their stance, the couple has attempted to transfer the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, and sought a stay on further trial court proceedings. While the Himachal Pradesh High Court had refused their stay and petitions, Singh had to resign from the union cabinet later in the year as corruption charges were being pressed against him. The couple was acquitted on the eve of Singh taking the role of Chief Minister in December 2012. This did not end here, as the CBI in 2015 filed a case against Singh for owning assets to the tune of Rs. 6.1 crore, disproportionate to his known sources of income, when he was the union minister between 2009 and 2011. Cases were also filed against his wife, son Vikramaditya and daughter Aparajita. Subsequent raids were also carried out across his properties, along with a notice being filed against him by the Supreme Court seeking response. The CBI has also claimed that Virbhadra had accumulated assets worth around Rs 10 crore which were disproportionate to his total income during his tenure as a Union minister. Virbhadra was asked to furnish Rs one lakh personal bond and surety of same amount, and was prohibited to leave the country without the Supreme Court's permission. Now, 83-year old Singh is contesting for a place in the 68-member legislative assembly for one last time, having announced his pre-planned retirement to the public, and is pitted against BJP's Prem Kumar Dhumal, two-time Chief Minister of the state. Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh Youth Congress President and Virbhadra's son Vikramaditya Singh is making his political debut from his father's maiden seat in Shimla, and will face BJP's Pramod Sharma.
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