BJP set to evoke Modi card, PM to address two rallies in Mandi, Solan
Shimla: The Bharatiya Janata Party has picked-up two Parliamentary constituencies – Mandi and Shimla (Reserve) to give a boost to the election campaign, currently handled by party 's star campaigner Jai Ram Thakur, a first-time Chief Minister.
Himachal Pradesh has four constituencies going to the poll on May 19 in the last phase.
Modi will address a poll rally at Mandi on May 10 where the party has retained its incumbent MP Ram Swaroop Sharma. Mandi is very crucial for the BJP as being a native district of the Chief Minister.
Till now, Thakur was first a second line leader in the state's party hierarchy but after former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal missed his Chief Ministerial chance in 2017, even the BJP fought poll under his leadership. It's Jai Ram Thakur who is leading the poll show for the party. The contest in Mandi, a constituency earlier also represented by Congress stalwarts like Virbhadra Singh and Sukh Ram, has a young dynastic Ashray Sharma, a grandson of Sukh Ram contesting on the Congress ticket after he had lobbied in the BJP.
It's due to Ashary and turncoat Sukh Ram, Anil Sharma, Ashray's father had to lose his cabinet post in the state government.
Modi had campaigned in Mandi during the state assembly polls in 2017 as thereafter Congress President Rahul Gandhi had also addressed a poll rally wherein he had declared Virbhadra Singh as party's Chief Ministerial face.
Why BJP selected Mandi for Modi rally clearly shows that the party doesn't want to take any chance as it's basically prestige of Chief Minister than Ram Swaroop Sharma, which is at stake. Mandi parliamentary also includes districts of Kullu, Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti and one assembly seat of Bharmaur in Chamba district.
In 2017, the BJP had won nine out of 10 assembly seats in Mandi district. One Independent elected from Jogindernagar defeating BJP senior and former minister Gulab Singh Thakur also backed the BJP.
"The BJP is comfortably placed in Mandi but it's all about ensuring a connect of the voters with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and give the Congress a befitting answer," said Praveen Sharma, BJP spokesman. Besides Mandi, another rally which Modi will address in Shimla Parliamentary constituency is at Solan on May 13. During 2014 poll, Modi had addressed a rally at Solan, which many BJP leaders believed proved lucky for the party to win all four seats in Himachal Pradesh. BJP general secretary Chander Mohan said party national president Amit Shah will also campaign in the state on May 12. He will address three rallies at Chamba, Bilaspur and Nahan in the parliamentary constituencies of Kangra, Hamirpur and Shimla respectively.