Shimla: Poll-bound Himachal Pradesh is bracing itself for a political ‘son rise’ of a different kind. At least the Congress thinks so. Former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh’s appointment as the PCC president on Tuesday has not just paved the way for her rise as a political force to reckon with in Himachal, but has also ushered in a ray of hope for the political stocks of her son Vikramaditya Singh.
As if this was not enough, the Congress has appointed Raghuvir Singh Bali, son of another giant in Himachal politics, G S Bali, as convenor of the election management committee. What their appointment means for the dwindling influence of the Congress in this tiny hill state is a matter worth pondering over.
If opinions of political pundits are to be taken seriously, these appointments will only add fuel to the fire. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Aam Aadmi party (AAP) will now lose no time in pulling out the dynasty card against the Congress once again. How that can be encashed at the turnstiles is another issue. For now, supporters of these political families have set the Internet ablaze with their congratulatory remarks and assertions that Pratibha and the party will deliver like never before.
Thanking the High Command for the trust reposed in her, Pratibha remarked that taking on this role is a huge challenge. Raghuvir Singh, however, was unavailable for comment though he is also getting a lot of support on social media.
Their appointments assume significance considering that their fathers – Virbhadra Singh and GS Bali – had a massive mass appeal in Himachal. The love-hate relationship between the two was also not unnoticed. Singh passed away in July 2021, while Bali too died a few months after him in October.
Singh represented upper Himachal with a strong backing of leaders from lower Himachal too, while Bali also had a following across the state and was known for going against his own party on issues related to public welfare.
The Congress had issued the list of organizational appointments on Tuesday and made an attempt to represent every section.
The writing on the wall will be clear soon. Will it be the endgame for the Congress and rise of regional challengers like the AAP? Will the Congress’ free fall continue despite a new ‘son rise’ or will the change of guard resurrect the beleaguered party? We will find the answers in November when the state goes to polls.