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Posted at: Mar 21, 2017, 12:45 AM; last updated: Mar 21, 2017, 12:45 AM (IST)

Infighting to the fore as Cong changes Bhoranj candidate

Change within 24 hrs

  • The change of candidate within 24 hours has made it amply clear that theparty is faction-ridden and leaders with conflicting interest had their way to the extent of getting the candidate changedafter it had been finalised by the AICC
  • The move has given the BJP ammunition to hit at the ruling party

Blow to Prem Kaushal

  • On Sunday, a staunch Virbhadra loyalist and former chairman of the local Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee, Prem Kaushal, was fielded against BJP’s Anil Dhiman
  • The nod for his candidature was given by AICCvice-president Rahul Gandhi
  • The HPCC had forwarded a panel of five names to the AICC for consideration
  • Kaushal was being considered as the front-runner in the race owing to his proximity to Virbhadra

Tribune News Service

Shimla, March 20

Infighting within the Congress over ticket allotment for the Bhoranj by-poll came to the fore as the party nominee Prem Kaushal whose name had been cleared by the AICC yesterday was changed within 24 hours with Pramila Devi being the new face of the party.

The change in the candidate within 24 hours has made it amply clear that the party is faction ridden and leaders with conflicting interest had their way to the extent of getting the candidate changed after it had been finalised by the AICC. The Congress will have to work overtime to put up a good performance but the change in the candidate has given the BJP ammunition to hit at the ruling party.

Pramila Devi (38), a member of the State Commission for Women, has been a two-time zila parishad member from Samirpur ward, home of former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. However, she had not contested the zila parishad election last time.

Bhoranj (SC) Assembly segment is a BJP citadel with former Minister ID Dhiman winning six elections and remaining a senior Cabinet minister in Dhumal regime.

Even though Pramila’s name was in the panel of five names which had been forwarded by the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee to the AICC but Prem Kaushal, a Virbhadra loyalist, was being considered the obvious choice because of the backing of the Chief Minister. It is reliably learnt that Congress leaders, including a former MLA from Hamirpur close to Virbhadra, played a crucial role in tilting the scales in favour of Pramila.

Now, it remains to be seen how ruling Congress will get its house in order and ensure that all leaders, including Prem Kaushal, campaign for the party unitedly. Kaushal has once contested the election against Dhiman as a Congress nominee and had once jumped into the fray as an independent.

BJP’s Anil Dhiman, rebel Pawan Kumar file papers

Hamirpur: As many as four candidates filed nomination papers for the Bhoranj by-election on Monday.

Anil Dhiman of the BJP filed his papers. Vichitar Singh has filed his nomination as his covering candidate. Pawan Kumar and Kusum Azad also filed nominations. Notably three candidates were from Bhoranj constituency but Kusum Azad is a resident of Neethar village in Kullu district.

Pawan Kumar, a zila parishad member who was a BJP ticket aspirant from Bhoranj, will contest as a rebel candidate. Pawan Kumar had formed Bhoranj Sangharsh Samiti and was had already been campaigning for the election. Speaking to media, he said he was against ‘Parivar Vaad’ and Dhiman family was given enough time to hold the seat.

He said that now party should have given chance to new face from amongst its dedicated workers. He said that he had been elected to Zila Parishad by the people of Bhoranj and it is the people of the constituency who have requested him to contest the election. Congress candidate Pramila Devi was expected to file her nomination tomorrow. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh will be present on the occasion. The last date of filing nominations is March 21.— OC


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