NATIONAL

3 out of 4 for BJP in Himachal

Kanwar Yogendra

SHIMLA: The Bharatiya Janata Party scored comfortable wins in three out of four parliamentary constituencies in Himachal Pradesh.

Due to half hearted campaign on the Mandi parliamentary seat by the top leadership of the BJP the Congress candidate Virbhadra Singh managed a slender win. “We could have won all the seats but the new delimitation exercise helped Congress in retaining the Mandi seat,” said State BJP president Jai Ram Thakur. The Dharampur Assembly constituency of Mandi has been made a part of Hamirpur constituency and the BJP managed a lead of more than 17,000 votes from here and Mr. Singh won the seat with a margin of mere 13,000 votes, he said.

But the BJP sprang a surprise in Shimla, a traditional Congress stronghold where its candidate Virender Kashyap scored a maiden victory. Mr. Kashyap had lost six Loksabha and four Vidhan Sabha elections so far. The BJP has won this seat for the first time on its own. It had supported the Himachal Vikas Congress of Sukhram in 1998 and had helped it in wining this seat.

As expected Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur retained the Hamirpur seat but with a much lesser margin of 72,732 votes. The contest was made tough here as the Congress fielded a BJP rebel Narender Thakur against Mr Thakur. In Kangra sitting MLA Rajan Sushant of BJP defeated the sitting MP Chander Kumar of the Congress by a margin of around 21,000 votes.

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