On the back foot on Kanhaiya, Congress may ignore Sidhu as star activist for Himachal Bypolls
Finding itself in the background after campaigning in Kanhaiya Kumar as the party’s star poll activist in Himachal Pradesh, Congress could ignore plans to host Punjab CPC chairman Navjot Singh Sidhu and other activists for the impending polls in the state.
With the exception of former Union Minister Anand Sharma, originally from Shimla and member of the Rajya Sabha of Himachal Pradesh, the party made the decision to bet on its local star activists – Mukesh Agnihotri, who is also opposition leader Asha Kumari, six-time Dalhousie lawmaker, other MPs and former ministers.
The by-elections in the parliamentary constituency of Mandi, where the wife of former CM Virbhadra Singh, Congressman Pratibha Singh, fights against BJP war veteran Brigadier Khushal Thakur from Kargil, are scheduled for October 30. .
On the same day, three seats in the Assembly – Jubbal-Kotkhai, Fatehpur and Arki in the districts of Shimla, Kangra and Solan respectively – will also elect new lawmakers by poll.
The bypolls are seen as a “semi-final” ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections and are crucial for BJP Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur. The CM has stepped up its attack on Congress – a party it says faces complete annihilation.
“After the disappearance of party pillar Virbhadra Singh, a dark battle is unfolding in the ranks of Congress. They are unable to decide their real agenda for the state or who will be their leader. So, they chose people like Kanhaiya Kumar to seek votes for them. You all know who Kanhaiya Kumar is and what he was doing at JNU, ”Thakur said during a poll at Reckong Peo in Kinnaur.
Kinnaur is part of the parliamentary constituency of Mandi and the district of origin of Thakur. This is why he chose to camp in Mandi to ensure the party’s victory. Congress is banking on a sympathy vote, reminding voters how Virbhadra Singh has had a huge impact on people’s lives through her balanced approach to development, improving the lives of the poor.
Citing Virbhadra Singh and his legacy to Mandi – a seat he has won four times – Congress has made anti-selection, rising prices and unemployment big polling problems.
Thakur, however, said the BJP was on a solid footing and would win all four seats because no one was listening to what Congress had to say.
“Our party did not get any foreigner to campaign as a star activist. These are our ministers, our members of Parliament and myself. Congress, which cannot stand on its own, has trusted people who have been reserved for anti-national activities, ”he said.
The BJP, towards the end of the campaign – which will end on October 27 (after being cut off by one day by the EC) – sharpened its attack on Congress. To this end, he appealed to party leaders Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal, both former chief ministers of Himachal Pradesh, to campaign. The Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur, is also touring extensively and will end his campaign in Jubbal-Kotkhai.
This is the seat where the BJP refused a ticket to Chetan Bragta, son of former minister Narinder Bragta, on the pretext that he did not encourage dynastic politics. Bragta rebelled and, having decided to run as an independent candidate, poses stiff competition to Neelam Saraik of the BJP. Congressman Rohit Thakur, grandson of former CM Thakur Ram Lal, has also made considerable gains. Thus, the party chose to send Anurag Thakur to the constituency to strengthen the chances of the BJP.