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Direct fight between BJP and Congress in Himachal Pradesh bypolls

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

Himachal Pradesh is all set to see a direct fight between the ruling BJP and the Congress party in the bypolls to one parliamentary and three Assembly seats, slated to be held on October 30.

In the hill State, the bypolls are being seen as a “critical test” to ascertain the BJP government’s performance and popularity and the Congress’s preparedness to pose a challenge to the ruling party ahead of the Assembly polls, due next year.

The battle for the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, which fell vacant after BJP MP Ram Swaroop’s death, is being keenly watched as Mandi happens to be the home turf of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and the BJP has a challenge to retain the seat.

The Congress has fielded former MP Pratibha Singh, wife of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, from Mandi and is harping on sympathy votes in the name of the late Singh. The BJP has named Brigadier Kushal Chand Thakur (retired), a recipient of “Yudh Seva” medal, as its candidate.

Ambika Shyam of the Rashtriya Lokniti Party, Munshi Ram Thakur of the Himachal Jankranti Party and Independent candidates — Anil Kumar and Subhash Mohan Snehi are also in the fray.

As the electioneering is gradually picking up, the Congress party led by its party president Kuldeep Singh Rathore has been attacking the BJP on “rampant corruption, inflation, unemployment, lack of development” among other issues.

The BJP on the other hand is banking on its “credible performance” during the past four years of its governance. The Chief Minister, who has been leading the BJP’s campaign, asserts that the State has witnessed an uninterrupted pace of overall development and the government has successfully provided quality infrastructure, employment opportunities, clean administration and transparency in working among other achievements.

The three Assembly constituencies are Fatehpur, Arki and Jubbal-Kotkhai. Arki in Solan district and Fatehpur in Kangra district were won by the Congress party and Jubbal-Kotkhai in Shimla district was won by the BJP in the 2017 polls.

The BJP has fielded Ratna Singh Pal and the Congress Sanjay for the Arki seat. Baldev Thakur (BJP), Bhawani Singh Pathania (Congress), Pankaj Kumar Darshi of the HJP and independent candidates Ashok Kumar Somal and Rajan Sushant are in the fray for the Fatehpur seat.

The four candidates for the Jubbal-Kotkhai seat are Neelam Saraik (BJP), Rohit Thakur (Congress), independents Chetan Singh Bragta and Suman Kadam.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2021 7:50:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/direct-fight-between-bjp-and-congress-in-himachal-pradesh-bypolls/article37011343.ece

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