Himachal's Virbhadra to cement 'political bridge'

Shimla, Oct 3 (IANS) This is literally a 'politcal bridge' in Himachal Pradesh.

Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh will October 16 inaugurate a bridge constructed by the industrialist brothers of the late Hari Narain Saini, a three-time BJP legislator and philanthropist in his Nalagarh constituency.

Political observers say the shrewd Congress chief minister, eyeing the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, is trying to woo Saini's sulking family that has been feeling disgruntled with the BJP since his death in 2011, by inaugurating the bridge.

"The visit will be the bridge in politics," an observer believed.

Many of Saini's family members, except his widow Gurnam Kaur, may join the Congress during the chief minister's visit, a senior Congress leader said.

He said this would give a big boost to the ruling Congress to strengthen its base in the Nalagarh constituency, where its candidate faced a humiliating defeat in last November's assembly polls.

Nalagarh has been a BJP bastion for years together, except in the November 2011 by-election which the Congress won.

The brothers of the late Saini, who was known for his close proximity to two-time chief minister Shanta Kumar, have provided over Rs.80 lakh for constructing the 104-metre-long bridge over the Sarsa river near Nalagarh town.

"We met the chief minister in Shimla and he has agreed to inaugurate the bridge on October 16," Saini's eldest brother Avtar Singh told IANS.

He said the chief minister would also address a public rally on that day, his first visit to the area since taking over the helm last December.

Saini's close associates say the late leader's strength in politics was based on the fact that he was the bridge between the rich and the poor and the rural and urban masses.

Saini, who was earlier in the BSP, became popular in 1997 when he had constructed a bridge in the Pargana Malaun area by spending Rs.10 lakh from his own pocket. That bridge was inaugurated by Shanta Kumar.

He had, from his own resources, also constructed two schools that were later taken over by the government and upgraded to high schools, besides carrying out a lot of developmental programmes, mainly in the rural areas of his constituency.

Saini, a former state minister in the BJP government from 1998 to 2003, died of liver cancer.

He made a public appearance in his native village after a long gap just a few days before his death to bid adieu to politics.

"I have finally decided to quit politics following my ill-health and request you to extend your support to my wife," he had said in his emotional speech.

After losing the by-election following Saini's death, the BJP did not give another chance to his widow Gurnam Kaur, who lost by a slender margin, to contest last year's assembly poll. This is why the family was feeling alienated from the party, a senior BJP leader said.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bowling worries for Super Kings

Bowling worries for Super Kings

After failing to defend a mammoth 205 against Kings XI Punjab, Chennai have a lot to think about. More »

Punjab pull off another big chase

Punjab pull off another big chase

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Maxwell, Miller, Pujara chase down Rajasthan's 192. More »

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

T20 test for Cheteshwar Pujara

The class act from Saurashtra may have to rethink his approach to the mannerless format. More »

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

Special meeting to replace Srinivasan

The BCCI is likely to convene a special general body meeting (SGM) in May to replace N Srinivasan on the board's disciplinary committee. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Roach escapes injury after car crash

Roach escapes injury after car crash

The West Indies fast bowler lost control of his BMW sedan due to slippery road conditions in his native Barbados on Saturday. More »

[INTERVIEW] Jayawardene and Sangakkara

[INTERVIEW] Jayawardene and Sangakkara

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara go over their World T20 win, and feel grateful to have fans whose support remains unwavering in victory and de… More »

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

Need to improve fielding: Ashwin

[T20 Newsline] Lacklustre Super Kings, fast-improving Sanju Samson and other news from IPL-7. More »

Repose faith in Indian coaches

Repose faith in Indian coaches

All of them cost plenty of dollars which I feel is unnecessary for a two- month tournament, says former cricketer Yajurvindra Singh. More »

Cook relieved after period in limbo

Cook relieved after period in limbo

The England captain is looking forward to a fresh start after a dispiriting Ashes defeat last year. More »

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

Chaos threatens to engulf SL again

As Lanka's head coach decides to jump ship, euphoria over winning an ICC tournament has dissipated into fuistration. More »

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Jayasuriya unhappy at Farbrace conduct

Sri Lanka's chief selector is upset at news of head coach Paul Farbrace's possible move to England. More »

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

Panel can help clean mess: Raghavan

The former CBI Director is one of three candidates proposed by the BCCI to head the enquiry into the IPL betting and spot-fixing scandal. More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »