Mr. Virbhadra Singh has been included in the cabinet of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. As reported in the media, he is the second Himachal minister after Mr. Anand Sharma who was included in the cabinet. It is a rare opportunity for Himachal Pradesh when two leaders from the state have made it to the cabinet. Despite the fact, Congress lost badly in the state securing just one seat out of four in the recent elections. Virbhadra Singh managed to secure the lone Mandi seat for the Congress. The other Cabinet minister Mr. Anand Sharma is a member of the Rajya Sabha.
Having two Himachali’s in the cabinet will be beneficial for the state, I have some reservations. Both Virbhadra Singh and Proff. Dhumal (present CM from BJP) are sworn political enemies. I doubt if one ex-Chief Minister will dole out favors to the present one. It will become a war of words for taking credit for all the work done. Already Virbhadra Singh have accused Dhumal of announcing and inaugurating the schemes sanctioned during his tenure, notably putting in place a IIT in Mandi. The two working together is a distant possibility as both would like to take credit for the schemes initiated in the state and would ultimately scuttle each other’s proposals. Congress in the state will also bear the brunt of having two cabinet ministers as both Virbhadra Singh and Anand Sharma represents different factions. Singh being a cabinet minister now will not go well with the other faction as they have been playing their politics via Delhi. BJP on other hand will try and blame these two ministers for all the misery in the state. I hope the BJP remembers that cabinet ministers do not run a state. It would be a tight ropewalk for Virbhadra from now on as his actions will be keenly watched.
The present CM Dhumal had earlier congratulated Anand Sharma for being promoted as a Cabinet Minister hoping Himachal’s voice will now be heard in Delhi. With Virbhadra now also in the cabinet, reaction of Proff. Dhumal will be keenly awaited.
Overall, an historic opportunity has been lost by Himachal.