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Himachal ex-minister Mankotia joins BJP, leaves Cong 3rd time

Himachal Pradesh veteran politician Major Vijay Singh Mankotia, who left the Congress twice and later announced his retirement from active politics blaming “dirty politics” for his exit, on Tuesday joined the BJP just ahead of the state assembly polls slated on November 12.

Two-time minister Mankotia joined the BJP after quitting the Congress third time that he joined in 2012 amidst the presence of party’s national president Jagat Prakash Nadda and Congress turncoat Harsh Mahajan who recently joined the saffron party at a function at the residence of Nadda in Bilaspur town.

Mankotia, won four elections in a row, one as an Independent and two on Congress ticket, was unceremoniously removed from the post of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Board’s Vice Chairman in July 2017 for seeking the removal of then Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh as he was facing cases of disproportionate assets.

At that time, Mankotia said everything was in public domain about how the Central Bureau of Investigation nabbed a senior functionary of the state Industries Department in a bribery case and his alleged links with the Chief Minister’s Office.

Having lost the assembly elections in 2012 from his arch-rival Sarveen Chowdhary from Shahpur, Mankotia was appointed the Tourism Board Vice Chairman in 2014 by the Chief Minister.

The disgruntled former legislator from Kangra had joined the BSP in July 2007. He was suspended from the Congress for criticising state leaders and the party high command.

He had released a much-hyped audio CD of a telephonic conversation of monetary transactions between Virbhadra Singh, his wife Pratibha and a former bureaucrat.

He had also released a list of corrupt state bureaucrats and politicians, especially those who were close to Virbhadra Singh.

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