Never said Congress High Command sidetracking me: Virbhadra

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Shimla, Mar 31 (UNI) Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh today denied that he had ever said that the Congress High Command was ''sidetracking'' him.

''I would like to categorically state that at no point of time, I had accused the Congress High Command of sidetracking me,'' he said in a release here.

Mr Singh said that he would also like to categorically state that there was no rift in the Congress in Himachal and the party was united behind AICC president Sonia Gandhi.

Referring to news reports in a section of the press regarding yesterday's incidents during the party's rally at Dari in Kangra district, he said it was not based on facts and was a ''garbled and exaggerated version'' of what had actually happened.

The former chief minister stated he had merely said that the feeling that Congress would come to power next time automatically, as people give power to the Congress and the BJP in rotation, was wrong and it would come to power only by hard work and struggle.

As far as the matter regarding lunch hosted by former party MLA Chandresh Kumari was concerned, he said this was also being blown out of proportions.

''Since the rally was being held in her constituency, she had arranged this lunch for the party workers. Ms Kumari had also invited me for the lunch,'' he said.

''However, when I accepted her invitation, I was not aware of any other arrangements made for the lunch for a select few.'' Mr Singh said attempts to make an issue out of this trivial matter were most unfortunate and uncalled for.

UNI AS JN RR KN1611

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