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Posted at: May 16, 2019, 7:52 AM; last updated: May 16, 2019, 9:26 AM (IST)CAMPAIGN TRAIL: ANURAG THAKUR (BJP), HAMIRPUR

Anurag pulls out all stops

Sensing trouble within, criss-crosses length & breadth of constituency
Anurag pulls out all stops
Three-time MP Anurag Thakur campaigns in Bilaspur

Pratibha Singh
Tribune News Service
Bilaspur, May 15

Notwithstanding the mighty push given to his campaign by party chief Amit Shah by indicating a bigger role for him, three-time BJP MP Anurag Thakur is pulling out all the stops to not let the anti-incumbency factor stop his march to Parliament for the fourth consecutive term.

Sensing there is more trouble from within his own party than the Congress, Anurag had criss-crossed the length and breadth of the parliamentary segment much before the elections were announced. The shadow of his father and former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal’s shocking defeat in the 2017 Assembly polls despite being declared chief ministerial candidate seems to be on the back of his mind and haunting the party cadre.

“You chose a chaiwallah and a poor man like (Narendra) Modi in 2014 to become PM over corrupt Congress under whose rule one only heard of scams and instability. You have to vote for the BJP to ensure Modi becomes PM for a second term,” appeals the young MP, clad in a white kurtya-pyjama and his trademark sneakers, as he addresses a rally in Bilaspur before embarking on a roadshow till Hamirpur, almost a 100-km stretch. 

The convoy of vehicles, with saffron flags fluttering atop, heads for the next destination at Kandror and en route, he waves at people, halts to shake hands and touches the feet of the elderly. “Modi opened 35-crore bank accounts to ensure direct transfer of benefit on gas subsidy, MGNREGA, pension and medical treatment,” he says as the chants of Phir ek baar, Modi sarkaar rent the air.  

At a few places, Anurag tries to connect with the masses through the local dialect, asking the voters if demonetisation had hit them adversely — the reply coming in the negative. At one stop, he tries to woo the women electorate, reminding them of the welfare schemes launched by the Modi government, including free gas connections, health kit for newborns and 26-month maternity leave. 

At another stop, he focuses on soldiers. “Unlike the Congress, Modi ji gave you ‘One rank, one pension’, two lakh bulletproof jackets and fighter jets,” he remarks, aware of the fact that his constituency has a considerable presence in the armed forces and also in an attempt to cash in on the Balakot sentiment. Anurag’s roadshow touches the main parts of Kandror, Ghumarwin, Kutlehar, Jahu, Ladraur, Patta, Bhota, Do Sarka and Hamirpur before culminating in Nadaun. 

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