Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh passes away

Shimla: Former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister and Veteran Congress leader Virbhadra Singh died in Shimla on July 8, 2021, after a prolonged illness. He was 87.

The veteran leader died at Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) at 3.40 am, senior medical superintendent Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC), Dr. Janak Raj said.

He suffered from heart attack on July 5,2021and was critical. He was in the critical care unit of IGMC.

Shri Virbhadra was put on ventilator under the supervision of the doctors of the cardiology department on July 7, 2021, after he had breathing problem, he added.

The veteran leader was BA (Hons.), MA; educated at Bishop Cotton School, Shimla and St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. Son of Late Raja Sir Padam Singh of Bushahr state, he was born on June 23, 1934, at Sarahan. He also served as Himachal Pradesh Congress President in 1977, 1979, 1980 and from August 26, 2012 to December 2012.

The nine-time MLA and five-time MP, Shri Singh served as Himachal Pradesh’s Chief Minister for six times. Shri Virbhadra tested positive for COVID-19 on June 11 for the second time in two months. He had earlier tested positive for the disease on April 12.

In condolence message by Congress President Smt. Sonia Gandhi, she has expressed deepest condolences on the passing away of veteran Congressman and leader, Shri Virbhadra Singh. She said that Shri Singh leaves behind a legacy of service rendered for nearly six decades to the people of Himachal Pradesh and the Nation.

A six-time CM and former Union Minister, he had the opportunity of working with many stalwarts through different generations.

Popular for his affable and grounded nature, he remained close to people. He brought about far-reaching positive changes through his administrative acumen. He was one of the tallest stalwarts of the Congress Party and remained a dedicated Congressperson throughout.

His contribution to the party, as indeed to the State and the Country, will be valued and cherished forever, Smt. Gandhi underlined.

In a condolence message for Shri Virbhadra to his wife by former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, he said, “I have learnt with profound sorrow the sad demise of your beloved husband Shri Virbhadra Singh due to post-Covid complications today early morning. Shri Virbhadra Singh, who dominated the political space in Himachal Pradesh for almost six decades, left a big vacuum in the Congress as no other leader enjoyed the mass appeal and clout that he did. He was amongst the tallest Congress leaders in the country. Despite belonging to the royal lineage, his strength was his easy access to the people. In his death, our country has lost a mass leader and an able administrator”.

In a tweet by Shri Rahul Gandhi, he said that Shri Virbhadra Singh ji was a stalwart in the true sense. His commitment to serving the people and to the Congress party remained exemplary till the very end. My condolences to his family and friends. We will miss him.

In another tweet, Smt. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said that we have suffered an irreparable loss due to the death of former Chief Minister and Senior Congress leader Shri Virbhadra Singh ji, who enjoyed a gigantic stature in politics like that of a mountain and took the Devbhoomi Himachal to new heights. May God give place to Shri Virbhadra Singh ji at His lotus feet. A humble tribute!

Shri Singh’s wife Smt. Pratibha Singh and the couple’s son Vikramaditya Singh are also politicians. Ms. Pratibha is a former MP, while Vikramaditya is an MLA from Shimla rural.

The veteran Congress leader remained Chief Minister of the state for six times from April 8, 1983 - March 5, 1990, December 3, 1993 - March 23, 1998 and from March 6, 2003 - December 29, 2007 and for the sixth time from December 25, 2012 - December 26, 2017.

Shri Virbhadra Singh also remained the leader of Opposition from March 1998 to March 2003. The veteran Congress leader also served as Union Deputy Minister, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Minister of State for Industries, Union Minister of Steel and Union Minister of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME). He was re-elected to the 13th Vidhan Sabha in December 2017 from Arki Assembly Constituency in Solan district. Earlier, he was elected to the state legislative assembly in October 1983 (by-election); re-elected in 1985 from Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly constituency, in 1990, 1993, 1998, 2003 & 2007 from Rohru assembly constituency and in 2012 from Shimla rural assembly constituency.

He was also elected to third Lok Sabha in 1962; re-elected to 4th Lok Sabha in 1967 from Mahasu Constituency, 5th Lok Sabha in 1971, 7th Lok Sabha in 1980 and 15th Lok Sabha (5th term) in May 2009 from Mandi Lok- Sabha Constituency.