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Will Lead from Front, Fight Polls on Seat Where Party Lost: HP Cong Chief

The Congress is concentrating on those 23 of total 68 assembly seats from where it could not win elections for the last 10 to 30 years. (Image: PTI)

The Congress is concentrating on those 23 of total 68 assembly seats from where it could not win elections for the last 10 to 30 years. (Image: PTI)

Rathore expressed his willingness to contest the difficult seats, saying he would lead the party from the front.

Himachal Congress chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore on Thursday expressed his willingness to contest the coming state assembly polls from one of the five seats where his party candidates lost their security deposit in the last elections. Elated over Congress candidates victory at the Mandi parliamentary seat and three assembly seats of Fatehpur, Arki and Jubbal-Kotkhai in the recent state bypolls, Rathore expressed his willingness to contest the difficult seats, saying he would lead the party from the front.

“I am ready to lead from the front by contesting from one of the five seats from where Congress candidates lost their deposits if the party high command asks me to do so," he told reporters here. The Congress candidates had lost their security deposits in Shimla Urban, Theog, Dehra and Joginder Nagar seats in the 2017 assembly elections and Dharamshala in the 2019 bypoll. Rathore hails from Theog. On being asked which seat he would like to contest in the state assembly elections next year, Rathore, however, evaded a direct reply.

After the victory in the recent HP bypolls, the Congress is concentrating on those 23 of total 68 assembly seats from where it could not win elections for the last 10 to 30 years, he added. The Congress failed to win from Churah, Chamba, Bhatiyal (Chamba district), Indora, Dehra, Jaswan Paragpur, Shahpur (Kangra), Manali (Kullu), Nachan, Seraj, Joginder Nagar, Dharampur, Sarkaghat (Mandi), Bhoranj, Hamirpur (Hamirpur), Kutlehar (Una), Jhandutta (Bilaspur), Kasauli (Solan), Pachhad, Nahan, Paonta Sahib (Sirmaur), Chopal, Shimla Urban (Shimla district) seats for the last one to three decades.

I myself have done 100 km padyatra’ (march) as part of Jan Jagran Abhiyan in eleven of those 23 assembly seats to revive the party, he added. Rathore had started his padyatra’ from Paonta Sahib on November 14, ending it in Bhoranj on December 1 in phase one.

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The Congress chief visited several areas falling under Paonta Sahib, Kasauli, Kutlehar, Shahpur, Jhandutta, Jawalamukhi, Balh, Keylong, Manali, Sarkaghat and Bhoranj assembly segments during the fortnight-long padyatra. Rathore said he would soon start the second phase of his padyatra in the remaining 12 assembly segments where his party performed badly.

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first published:December 02, 2021, 15:57 IST