By : Mohan Verma
Former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Monday commented that Mandi Lok Sabha segment is backward in this hill state as it face apathy of hegemony of the former rulers and the vested interests whose contribution to the development and welfare of the state had allegedly been insignificant.
This Lok Sabha seat was usurped by former royal families who did virtually nothing for the backward people of the state.
In 1952 general elections, Congress gave ticket from Mandi to Raj Kumari Amril Kaur of Patiala royal family who became the MP. During the subsequent term (1957) Congress preferred the former ruler of Mandi state, Raja Joginder Sen, who got elected as MP.
He said the Congress party continued this vicious practice in the following years also. The Raja of Suket (Sundernagar) was honoured twice with Congress ticket in 1962 and 1967 and got elected.
He lamented that the Congress party owned and patronized the slavery of the former rulers when it gave ticket to Virbhadra Singh of royal family of Rampur. He was elected and went to the Parliament for the first time.
Later he (Virbhadra Singh) had to bear the brunt of emergency and was defeated by BJP candidate, Ganga Singh Advocate.
Dhumal said interestingly gain in 1980 Congress party could not find a better candidate from the common man and gave ticket to Virbhadra Singh who was elected and made a minister in the union cabinet.
It is an irony, he said, that from amongst the common people Pt. Sukh Ram and Ganga Singh were the only two exceptions who were elected MPs from Mandi Parliamentary constituency since independence.