Sukh Ram, a minister in the Congress government led by PV Narasimha Rao, who was expelled after a huge corruption case, re-joined the Congress today with his grandson Aashray Sharma.
Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala and Himachal Pradesh unit in-charge Rajini Patil were present at the function.
The 91-year-old former telecom minister was indicted in 2011-15 years after the Central Bureau of Investigation seized Rs 3.6 crore from his official residence. The agency said it was kickbacks received for irregular award of a telecom contract.
His conviction, however, was over a different case - fraud in purchase of telecom-related hardware. He was also convicted for amassing assets disproportionate to his income. The former minister has appealed in the Supreme Court, where the case is pending.
"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," Sukh Ram told reporters.
"When I joined BJP, the party got 44 seats out of 68 in the assembly elections (in Himachal Pradesh)," he added.
After Sukh Ram's name surfaced in the Telecom scam, he was expelled from the Congress and formed Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) which entered into a post-poll alliance with BJP and joined the government.
He rejoined the Congress before the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, but quit again in 2017 and joined the BJP. A lawmaker from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh from 1962 to 1984, he wields an influence in the area.
His son Anil Sharma won the Mandi assembly seat in 1993. Part of Virbhadra Singh-led Congress government in the state, Anil Sharma had joined the BJP before the last assembly elections in 2017. Currently, he is a cabinet minister in the Jai Ram Thakur-led BJP government in Himachal Pradesh.
Now Aashray Sharma, Sukh Ram's grandson, seeks to contest from Mandi parliamentary seat, which is also the home district of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
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