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Posted at: Oct 18, 2017, 12:19 AM; last updated: Oct 18, 2017, 12:19 AM (IST)

Rebels may play spoilsport for BJP again

List not out but leaders, if denied ticket, are ready to revolt against official nominees

Those who could be ignored...

  • Though simmers of discontent have begun to emerge from those who could be denied the ticket, three prominent leaders — Rikhi Ram Kaundal, MLA from Jhandauta in Bilaspur, former Transport Minister Kishan Kapoor from Dharamsala and former BJP state president Khimi Ram Sharma — have made their intentions to contest as independents clear.
  • The possibility of some others could choose the same path. They include BK Chauhan, sitting MLA from Chamba, Roop Singh Thakur, seven-time MLA from Sundernagar, and Praveen Sharma from Palampur.
Rebels may play spoilsport for BJP again

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 17

History seems to be repeating itself for the BJP with the possibility of rebels queering the pitch for the party’s official candidates like in 2012 looming large.

Though simmers of discontent have begun to emerge from those who could be denied the ticket, three prominent leaders — Rikhi Ram Kaundal, MLA from Jhandauta in Bilaspur, former Transport Minister Kishan Kapoor from Dharamsala and former BJP state president Khimi Ram Sharma — have made their intentions to contest as independents clear. The BJP’s official list of candidates is yet to be declared.

While these leaders have given their mind, the possibility of some others could choose the same path. They include BK Chauhan, sitting MLA from Chamba, Roop Singh Thakur, seven-time MLA from Sundernagar, and Praveen Sharma from Palampur.

Though the list is yet to be announced, with speculation rife that they could be denied the ticket, they could play spoilsport for the BJP.

In the last poll in 2012 also, 12 BJP rebels had contested as independents, with three of them attaining success. They included Pawan Kajal from Kangra, Manohar Dhiman from Indora and Balbir Verma from Chopal. Five Independents had won the poll, Rajinder Rana from Sujanpur and Karnesh Jung from Paonta Sahib in Sirmour.

The BJP had suffered the maximum damage in Kangra in the 2012 poll with several rebels like Rakesh Pathania (Nurpur), Roop Singh Thakur (Sundernagar), HN Kashyap (Solan), Rakesh Kumar Chopra Ghumarwin), Kamla Patiyal (Dharamsala) and Sudha Sushant (Fatehpur) dividing the BJP vote bank.

The maximum number of 16 Independents had won in the 1957 poll followed by 14 in 1967. It was only in 1990 and 1998 that only one Independent - Mahender Singh from Dharampur in Mandi district and Ramesh Chand from Jwalamukhi in Kangra - could register victory.

The Assembly poll in 1982 and 1985 saw only two Independent making it to the Assembly. In 1982, the two Independent winners were Vijai Singh Mankotia from Shahpur and Thakur Sen Negi from Kinnaur. In the 1985 Assembly poll, two Independents were Rattan Lal Thakur from Jogindernagar and Ishwar Chand from Jwalamukhi.

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