Senior Congress leader and Irrigation and Public Health Minister Vidya Stokes asked Congress Committee to give free hand to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh in the ensuing Vidhan Sabha elections in the state.

Stokes demanded to make Virbhadra Singh the face of the party, and maintained that he’s the only capable leader to win the election for Congress party. She cautioned the party high-command that there is no substitute to Virbhadra Singh in politics in Himachal Pradesh.

Stokes reminded that in the 2012 Vidhan Sabha elections, when Congress party was in problem, Virbhadra Singh led the party and resulted in landslide victory in the state. In elections, strong regional leadership is important as public have more faith in regional leadership, veteran congress leader advised.

While quoting victory of Congress party in Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections, Vidya Stokes said the win was possible because of strong regional leadership of Capt. Amrinder Singh in Punjab. She said Vidhan Sabha elections are fought generally between two parties with narrow margin of win and defeat. This difference can be turned into victory with the presence of capable leader like Virbhadra Singh.

Vidya Stokes claimed the BJP is a party with hype and without support of common person of the state, and leadership crises within the saffron party will further give a chance to the party to repeat in the state. She hoped that discontentment against Union Government will directly benefit Congress party, if the election is contested under the leadership of Virbhadra Singh.

The state congress is facing infighting within the party. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was demanding to replace the state party president with elected leader before the state plunge into election mode, but party high command so far give a deaf ear to his demand. Recently, as the monsoon session of the Vidahn Sabha adjourned, Virbhadra Singh announced not to contest the ensuring Vidhan Sabha election. Following his announcement, few other congress leader also announced not to contest the election without veteran leader, which is giving tough time to the grand old party in the state. Rival faction seeing it a pressure tactic of octogenarian leader to replace state president to have better say in the ticket allotment and now with Vidya Stokes, once a bete noire of Singh in state politics, further strengthen Virbhadra Singh’s demand.