Congress Undecided on Hamirpur, Speculations Rife on Induction of BJP Rebel
The BJP has again fielded its sitting MP Anurag Thakur from the Hamirpur constituency. Thakur is a three-time MP from the BJP’s bastion.
BJP rebel Suresh Chandel. (Image: Twitter)
Chandigarh: After the Congress Central Election Committee (CEC) approved the name of sitting MLA Pawan Kajal from Kangra constituency, the party has so far announced three out of the four Lok Sabha seats in Himachal Pradesh. However, the party is still undecided about the candidate from the Hamirpur constituency.
The indecisiveness has exposed the chinks in the armour of the Congress which has never looked so vulnerable in Hamirpur, even though it has lost the seat seven consecutive times.
The BJP has again fielded its sitting MP Anurag Thakur from the seat. Thakur is a three-time MP from the BJP’s bastion.
However, it is learnt there are no takers for the ticket in Congress, making it even difficult for the party leadership.
Party sources say the leader of the opposition, Mukesh Agnihotri, and former state party president Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu have expressed their reluctance to fight from Hamirpur, though the latter has publically claimed that he is ready to contest from wherever the party decides.
The hesitance of the two senior party leaders has led the Congress to turn to former three-time BJP MP Suresh Chandel.
Speculations are rife that the Congress may offer the ticket to the BJP rebel this time, much to disappoint the party leaders and workers.
The suspension of five party workers after they opposed the induction of Chandel on Tuesday by the HPPCC chief Kuldeep Rathore triggered the speculation further.
The Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president took disciplinary action against 4 office bearers of the Bilaspur District Congress Committee (DCC) and one from Una DCC. While both Bilaspur and Una fall under the Hamirpur parliamentary constituency.
Tripta Thakur, Naeem Mohammed, Shailendra Bharol, Madhu Chandel and Vikas Kashyap had organized a press conference over Chandel’s induction and burnt his effigy too.
Agnihotri represents the Haroli Assembly and Sukhu is the MLA from Nadaun - both of which fall under the Hamirpur constituency.
Agnihotri and Sukhu are the two bigwigs of the Congress in Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency.
Senior Congress leader and MLA from Sri Naina Devi Ji, Ram Lal Thakur is another name in the reckoning.
In the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had endorsed the name of Abhishek Rana, a secretary in the HPPCC, for Hamirpur. In his late twenties, Abhishek is the son of Sujanpur MLA Rajinder Rana who had defeated former chief minister and Anurag Thakur’s father Prem Kumar Dhumal in the 2017 Assembly polls.
Ever since Rajinder Rana had been garnering support for a ticket to his son against Anurag Thakur. However, he has received stiff opposition from the old guard, including Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu a bete noire` of Virbhadra Singh.
The four Lok Sabha seats in Himachal Pradesh - Hamirpur, Kangra, Shimla and Mandi will go for voting on May 19.
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