Virbhadra Singh (born June 23, 1934) is the current Minister of Steel of Republic of India. He became the Union Minister of Steel of the United Progressive Alliance government, led by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on May 28, 2009. He was also three-time Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh state, from 1983 to 1990, from 1993 to 1998 and from 2003 to 2007. He is a member of the Indian National Congress.
Virbhadra Singh was born on June 23, 1934 at Sarahan, Shimla in a Rajput family. He is the son of Raja Sir Padam Singh. He has a B.A. (Hons) and an M.A. He studied at the prestigious Bishop Cotton School, Shimla where he was the House Captain of Ibbetson House in 1951 and St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. He was also an honorary captain in the Indian Army. He is also associated with numerous cultural and social organisations including President of Sanskrit Sahitya Sammelan and Friends of Soviet Union Society (Himachal State Branch).
Singh was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1962, 1967, 1972 and in 1980. He was the member of Indian delegation to the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1976. He remained Deputy Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation in Government of India from December 1976 to March 1977. He was the Minister of State for Industries in Government of India from September 1982 to April 1983. He was twice elected to the State Legislative Assembly from Jubbal-Kotkhai Constituency (first on 5 October 1983 in a by-election and again in 1985 general elections). He was the Chief Minister of the State from April 1983 to March 1990 and from December 1993 to March 1998. He was the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly from March 1998 to March 2003. He was once again appointed as Chief Minister on 6 March 2003. However he lost the December 2007 elections and resigned on the 30 December, 2007.
General election, 2009
In the general election, 2009, Virbhadra Singh was elected from the Mandi parliamentary constitency in Himachal Pradesh. The three-time chief minister defeated his nearest rival Maheshwar Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) by 13,997 votes. Virbhadra Singh bagged 340,973 votes and Maheshwar Singh got 326,976 votes. Pratibha Singh, the wife of Virbhadra Singh, had defeated Maheshwar Singh in the 2004 poll by 66,566 votes.This constituency saw the maximum voter turnout of 64 percent when the state went to the polls on May 13, 2009.