Shimla: An old war horse, who could not be put down by allegations of corruption or infighting in the Congress, Virbhadra Singh steered the party back to power in Himachal Pradesh with a spirited campaign this time.
The 78-year-old veteran became chief minister of the state for the sixth time, setting a record. In a major relief to him, a court on Monday acquitted him of charges of corruption and conspiracy in the much-publicized audio CD case.
“No case is made out as not even a single witness supported the prosecution evidence,” Special Judge B.L. Soni said pronouncing the judgement in an open court absolving the Congress leader in a matter relating to his tenure as CM in 1989 after a trial that started in September this year.
In his five-decade long political innings, he has been a seven-time MLA, a five-time MP and five-time chief minister. He has also been a four-time president of the state Congress and represents the Mandi seat in the present Lok Sabha. Singh was chief minister between 1983 and 85; 1985 and 1990; 1993 and 1998 and 2003 and 2007. Scion of Himachal Pradesh’s erstwhile royal state of Rampur Bushahr, Singh was educated in Bishop Cotton School at Shimla and St Stephen’s College, New Delhi, Virbhadra Singh stands as the tallest among the stalwarts of state Congress. Even though his detractors accuse him of being “feudal” and ‘inflexible´ in his style of functioning, his amiable nature has earned respect among the people of the hill state.