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Posted at: Apr 20, 2019, 6:56 AM; last updated: Apr 20, 2019, 8:57 AM (IST)

Cong steps up poll campaign, pins hopes on star campaigners

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, April 19

The filing of nomination papers by Congress candidates from all four Lok Sabha seats is expected to be a show of unity and strength, where all senior party leaders, including Virbhadra Singh, Anand Sharma, AICC incharge Rajni Patil and state Congress president Kuldeep Rathore, are expected to show up. 

The Congress, which has been lagging behind in the declaration of its candidates, is now trying to intensify its campaign. Having hit out at state BJP president Satpal Singh Satti for his derogatory remarks against Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi and the threat of being barred from the campaign dangling on his head, the Congress is upbeat over taking on the BJP.

The party has now planned to ensure the presence of its star campaigner and vote catcher former Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh, at the filing of nominations.

To send across a strong signal that the party is fully united and geared up for the poll, former Union Minister Anand Sharma will also be present along with Virbhadra and AICC incharge Rajni Patil.

“Our Shimla candidate Dhani Ram Shandil will file his papers on April 23 in the presence of Virbhadra, Anand Sharma, Rajni Patil and K Raju,” Rajnish Khimta, general secretary, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC), said.  He said all these leaders would be present for the filing of papers by Mandi candidate Ashray Sharma in Mandi on April 25. It is learnt that efforts are on to get a helicopter to ensure the presence of all these leaders for the filing of nomination papers by Hamirpur candidate Ram Lal Thakur on April 25. The Congress candidate from Kangra, Pawan Kajal, will be filing his papers on April 29 in the presence of all the senior leaders.

The Central and state leaders are keen on ensuring the presence of Virbhadra on the nomination filing day. Though there was speculation if Virbhadra would be willing to mark his presence at the filing of nomination by Ashray Sharma, grandson of his bête noire Sukh Ram, it appears the “Raja” has softened his stand and relented to the party leaders and Ashray's request. Both in Kangra and Hamirpur, the Congress has tried to rope in all its leaders from various factions and castes to campaign for the candidates so that the party can put up a good show. The party as it is faces an uphill task of wresting the seats.

Putting up a united face

  • The party has now planned to ensure the presence of its star campaigner and vote catcher former Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh, at the filing of nominations.
  • To send across a strong signal that the party is united and geared up for the poll, former Union Minister Anand Sharma will also be present.

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