Cong fields ex-armyman in Shimla
Shimla: In the run-up to the polls, Congress candidate Col (retired) Dhani Ram Shandil, a two-time MP, on Tuesday filed his nomination papers for Shimla Parliamentary constituency and the party's top leadership stood behind him in an unusual show of unity, perhaps first-time.
Former union minister Anand Sharma, who hails from Shimla, especially flew in to Shimla to join PCC president Kuldeep Rathore, and party veterans like Virbhadra Singh and Vidya Stokes.
AICC incharge Rajini Patil and leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihotri also were in the spotlight as resolve to make the going tough for the BJP, which had won Shimla Parliamentary seat twice successively in 2009 and 2014.
Though the BJP has replaced incumbent Virender Kashyap with two-time MLA Suresh Kashyap, also an ex-air force person, the Congress is keeping the morale high for its cadres. Shandil, who had won Solan assembly seat in 2012 and again in 2017, is seen as party's potential candidate in view of his earlier two innings in the Lok Sabha --- one even as BJP back Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) candidate in 1999.
Shandil has served elite Dogra Regiment of Indian Army before joining politics and now banks largely on six-time CM Virbhadra Singh. Nevertheless, the BJP candidate also having Indian Army back-ground, is a young politician with good academic profile with M.Phil (Public Administration), and Post Graduate (English & Tourism), beside Post Graduate Diploma in Public Relation & Communication Management, beside and B.Ed degree.