Will not contest poll now, says Virbhadra

Shimla: Former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who is the popular Congress face in Himachal Pradesh, on Thursday said he will not be fighting the assembly elections in 2022.

"I will not be fighting the next assembly election but I will keep working for the party to strengthen it and also keep it fighting fit," he announced at Arki, his assembly constituency.

The 86-year old veteran Congress leader, who remained Chief Minister for six times, said some people were trying to weaken the party. They are traitors and should not be allowed to stay in the Congress, he said.

"I have always been a loyal soldier for the Congress. I remained committed to the party and will continue to serve the Congress with the same spirit till my last breath," he said.

Virbhadra Singh, who addressed newly elected members of the panchayats belonging to the Congress said "there are people who claim to be the Congressmen but they work against the party. Even back stab it."

"Such people have no place in the Congress and should be thrown out so that the Congress functions well and remains free from such bad elements," he stated.

Singh, who had also served as member of parliament for five times and twice as a union cabinet minister, was eyeing his seventh term in 2017 as party's chief ministerial candidate.

The Congress lost power and BJP's Jai Ram Thakur succeeded him in 2017.

Since then he had been planning to quit electoral politics. He had been inactive for some time though he maintained his contact with the people, hundreds visiting his private residence –Holly Lodge.

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