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Assembly byelection: Triangular contest on cards in Lahaul-Spiti

Denied ticket, Markanda to fight as Independent candidate

Assembly byelection: Triangular contest on cards in Lahaul-Spiti

Tribune News Service

Dipender Manta

Mandi, May 8

The tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti Assembly constituency bordering China is set to witness a triangular after Ram Lal Markanda decided to jump in poll fray as an Independent candidate.

Apart from Markanda, the other contenders in the poll fray are BJP candidate Ravi Thakur, a Congress rebel, and Congress candidate Anuradha Rana, a first-time candidate to contest the Assembly by-election in Lahaul and Spiti. It is after almost 52 years that a female candidate has been fielded by the Congress from Lahaul and Spiti in the Assembly election. In 1972, Lata Thakur, mother of BJP candidate Ravi Thakur, had fought the Assembly election in Lahaul and Spiti on Congress ticket and she won the election.

The by-election has been necessitated in this constituency after Congress rebel MLA Ravi Thakur ditched his party during the Rajya Sabha election and he joined the BJP.

Traditionally, this Assembly constituency is a stronghold of Congress. The party maintained its domination winning it eight times out of the total 13 Assembly elections.

The first election was won by an Independent candidate Thakur Devi Singh in 1967. In 1972, Congress candidate Lata Thakur won the election. In 1977, Thakur Devi Singh won on the Janata party ticket. In 1982, 1985 Thakur Devi Singh won on Congress ticket. In 1990, 1993, Punchog Rai won as a Congress candidate. In 1998, Ram Lal Markanda emerged winner on the Himachal Vikas Congress Party ticket. In 2003, Raghubir Singh Thakur triumphed for Congress, in 2007 Ram Lal Markanda won on BJP ticket, in 2012 Ravi Thakur won as a Congress nominee, in 2017 Ram Lal Markanda won as a BJP candidate and in 2022 Ravi Thakur of the Congress won the election.

In the last Assembly election, Congress candidate Ravi Thakur and BJP’s Ram Lal Markanda were the main contenders in which the former defeated Markanda by a margin of 1616 votes.

This time, Lahaul and Spiti will experience a triangular contest as BJP rebel and former minister Ram Lal Markanda has announced that he would file the nomination paper on May 13 at Keylong to contest the Assembly by-election. After denial of ticket from the BJP, Markanda had threatened to contest the election as an independent candidate. However, he tried hard to get ticket from the Congress but in the last moment Congress also denied him party ticket.

The world’s highest polling booth is situated in this constituency at Tashigang at the height of 15,256 feet in Spiti region. This constituency is divided into two valleys Lahaul and Spiti.

Key stats

25,732 Total voters


12,552: female

Polling booths: 92

Last Winner: Ravi Thakur (Cong)

Winning margin: 1,616 votes

Vote percentage:

Ravi Thakur (Cong) 52.91

Ram Lal Markanda (BJP) 44.32

Main candidates for 2024 elections

  • Anuradha Rana (Cong)
  • Ravi Thakur (BJP)
  • RL Markanda (Ind)

About The Author

The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

#China #Lahaul and Spiti #Mandi

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