A ‘misquote’ of Himachal Pradesh Congress spokesperson Naresh Chauhan which was aired on a news channel Newsx on Wednesday created ripples in the political circles. A National English news channel quoting Naresh Chauhan said Virbhadra Singh was regularly in touch with the murder accused MLA Ram Kumar Chaudhary and shielded the former Congress General Secretary.
“I was misquoted and I never said this. I said that the party was regularly in touch with chief minister Virbhadra Singh on Ram Kumar Chaudhary’s issue. I am issuing a clarification. This is an example of irresponsible journalism,” Naresh Chauhan , Spokesperson, HPCC said.
The truth is that Ram Kumar Chaudhary , who was expelled from the party and removed as General Secretary on Wednesday for his involvement in the sexual exploitation and brutal murder of a dalit girl , belongs to anti Virbhadra camp . Virbhadra Singh himself had condemned the incident and had said that Ram Kumar Chaudhary’s conduct has sullied party’s image.Sources said Virbhadra Singh was unhappy with the news item . The party spokesperson who was misquoted later issued a clarification stating that his live phone-in was distorted by the news channel.
Opposition BJP found an opportunity to slam Himachal Pradesh Congress as the news was aired on a national news channel. Slamming the Chief Minister for allegedly failing to report the whereabouts of the then missing MLA, the BJP said Virbhadra Singh has erred in his duties as a public servant.
“Mr Virbhadra Singh happens to be a pubic servant and a public servant who is aiding a person who is running away from the lawful authority being the chief minister of the state he is supposed to know what is proper and what is improper , what is legal and what is illegal that is said once but the other part of the story is that somebody who is running Haryana government does not know what is happening in his own state ,” Minakshi Lekhi,BJP leader and Supreme Court lawyer said.
Chief Minister , Virbhadra Singh and Himachal Pradesh Congress Congress President , Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu were not available for comment as both have left Shimla to take part in Congress’s Chintan Shivir being organised at Jaipur .
“I do not know anything in this regard. I think it better if you ask Virbhadra Singh Ji. But I tell you that the party is against all these things . He ( Ram Kumar Chaudhary) has already been suspended ,” Congress leader Rashid Alvi said.
It is worth mentioning here that Ram Kumar Chaudhary a first time MLA who contested and won Vidhan Sabha election from Doon constituency on Wednesday was only expelled from the party after he surrendered before Haryana police on January 8. The party did not take any action against him even as he was facing murder and sexual exploitation charges and was underground for as much as 48 days. He is accused of murdering a dalit girl .
Both Himachal Pradesh and Haryana police played a hide and seek game with the MLA. Haryana police officials which were present in Baddi on December 20 ,when the election results were announced , did not dare to arrest the MLA who openly took part in a procession after he won the election. As there are Congress governments in both the states, the question remained unanswered is that whether the murder accused MLA was shielded by the party governments ?