Congress appoints observers for bypolls in Himachal

Congress appoints observers for bypolls in Himachal

The Congress has started gearing up for the Mandi Lok Sabha and two Assembly byelections and appointed observers.

Tribune News Service

Shimla/Dharamsala, June 19

The Congress has started gearing up for the Mandi Lok Sabha and two Assembly byelections and appointed observers.

AICC secretary and incharge for Himachal Sanjay Dutt made the appointments of observers for Mandi, Fatehpur in Kangra and Jubbal-Kotkhai in Shimla. Two AICC secretaries Sanjay Dutt and Gurkirat Singh Kotli will coordinate with them.

Congress Legislature Party leader Mukesh Agnihotri along with Asha Kumari and Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, both MLAs, and former minister Gangu Ram Musafir has been appointed observers for Mandi.

The observers for Jubbal Kotkhai are Ram Lal Thakur, Dhani Ram Shandil and Harshwardhan Chauhan, all MLAs, and former MLA Harsh Mahajan. The observers for Fatehpur are former ministers GS Bali and Chander Kumar and MLA Rajender Rana.

Rajneesh Khimta, general secretary, organisation, will facilitate the overall coordination among the observers.

The BJP has already appointed Bikram Singh Thakur, Industries Minister, and Rakesh Pathania, Minister for Forest, as incharge and co-incharge for the byelection.

Sources said Sujjan Pathanis’s son Bhavani Singh Pathania was the frontrunner for Congress ticket from Fatehpur. The party intends to cash in on sympathy for the family to win the byelection. They said Sujjan’s family also enjoys a tacit support of some Rajput BJP leaders from the area.

For the BJP, it is a tough task to choose between former MP Kirpal Singh Parmar and local BJP leader Baldev Thakur for the byelection. Parmar contested the election from Fatehpur in 2017 but lost due to infighting. Baldev Thakur, who had contested as Independent, garnered more votes than Parmar. The party failed the win Fatehpur despite the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had organised a rally in favour of Parmar.

The sources said the party could field a Brahmin. Earlier, Shanta Kumar used to be the tallest Brahmin leader for the BJP from Kangra district. He had taken retirement. There was not even a single Brahmin MLA in the BJP from Kangra. Brahmins constitute a significant percentage of electorate in the district.

Former BJP MP Rajan Sushant may contest as Independent. Rajan Sushant had quit the BJP and joined AAP. He has been extensively touring the constituency and meeting people.

They said the BJP is also facing anti-incumbency due to the second wave of coronavirus, rising unemployment and prices of essential commodities.

BJP mulls Brahmin candidate

  • The party can field a Brahmin candidate
  • Shanta Kumar was the tallest Brahmin leader of the BJP in Kangra but he has retired from politics
  • There is not even one Brahmin MLA in the BJP from Kangra district
  • Brahmins constitute a significant percentage of electorate in the district.

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