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Grandson in tow, Sukh Ram back in Cong fold, calls it homecoming

March 26, 2019 05:51 AM

COURTESY HT MARCH  26

Grandson in tow, Sukh Ram back in Cong fold, calls it homecoming
NEW DELHI/SHIMLA: Former Union telecom minister Sukh Ram on Monday returned to the Congress fold along with his grandson Aashray Sharma.

HT PHOTO
Former Union minister Sukh Ram with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Monday.
The 91-year-old leader, who wields a considerable clout in the Mandi Lok Sabha segment from where he was elected MP thrice, met Congress president Rahul Gandhi along with party’s in-charge of Himachal Pradesh Rajni Patil before the formal joining at the AICC headquarters.

“Pandit Sukh Ram and his grandson Ashray have joined the Congress. We believe he will strengthen the party not only in Himachal but across north India,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala while addressing a press conference In New Delhi.

“When I met Rahul ji, he told me that we have family relations. I have spent (my) political life in Congress and today I have come back home,” said Sukh Ram who had left the Congress in 2017 and joined the BJP. Sukh Ram’s latest move comes two days after BJP renominated its sitting MP Ram Swaroop Sharma from Mandi.

Aashray, whose father Anil Sharma is a cabinet minister in the Jai Ram Thakur-led BJP government in HP, is seeking a ticket from Mandi. On asked whether Aashray will get a ticket, Patil said his name will be considered and final decision will be taken on March 29.

Sukh Ram’s latest move has put his son Anil in a fix. “I have apprised the chief minister of the latest development. I’m ready to resign from my post and even offered to quit but the CM turned it down,” the HP power minister told HT.

Sukh Ram and Anil had quit the Congress on the eve of the assembly elections in 2017, citing humiliation by some party leaders. Anil later won the Mandi Sadar assembly seat on the BJP ticket and became a state minister. Sukh Ram, who was accused in the infamous telecom scam when he was a minister in the PV Narasimha Rao government, had a prolonged rivalry with former CM Virbhadra Singh. He floated Himachal Vikas Party and helped PK Dhumal become the CM in the late nineties. Sukhram’s ties with the BJP later soured and he rejoined the Congress only to quit in 2017. Mandi is also the home district of CM Jai Ram Thakur. Currently, sitting MPs in all four parliamentary constituencies in HP are from the BJP. The state will go to polls on May 19.

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