Millennium Post

HP bypolls: BJP handpicks new faces, Congress goes for veteran Gangu Ram

HP bypolls: BJP handpicks new faces, Congress goes for veteran Gangu Ram

Shimla: Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is on a winning spree in Himachal Pradesh, after 2017 assembly polls, and this year's Parliamentary elections, is set to take a fresh test to its popularity graph in two assembly bypolls at Dharamshala and Pacchad, slated for October 21.

After lots of rumbling and suspense in the ranks, the party on Sunday named – Vishal Nehria, a Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJMC) leader and Reena Kashyap, a former Zila Parishad member from Dharamshala and Pachhad constituencies respectively.

The two seats fell vacant after Kishan Kapoor, a cabinet minister and two-time MLA Suresh Kashyap were elected to the Lok Sabha from Kangra and Shimla (Reserve) seats with a record winning margins.

Both Nehria and Reena will be contesting the assembly polls for the first time.

The party's decision to field news faces, however, has left some potential contenders sulking. Sanjay Sharma - a brahmin, has also lobbied hard since been based at Dharamshala for a long time. He hoped that BJP working president J P Nadda will back his case but the party went out for Nehria to woo Gaddi voters.

Another contender was Umesh Dutt-- who was given ticket in 2017 poll but later dropped to retain Krishan Kapoor, a staunch Shanta Kumar loyalist.

The BJP had maintained complete suspense for the candidates even as Krishan Kapoor, now MP, was advised not to push the name of his son Shashwat Kapoor and Suresh Kashyap was too left with no choice but to wait for the party decision on the candidate.

Challenging Reena Kashyap will be Congress veteran and former Speaker Gangu Ram Musafir, who had lost the poll to Suresh Kashyap in 2012 and also 2017.

Musafir was elected to the assembly first time in 1982 as an independent candidate but later had joined the Congress to become a cabinet minister thrice and also Speaker. He has won seven elections.

In Dharamshala, the Congress is trying its luck on Vinay Inder Karan, a youth leader, who also belong to Gaddi community as being Nehria. First time, the battle will be within two Gaddi leaders, who claim to have a sizeable vote percentage in Dharamshala – where Krishan Kapoor been their face and strong Gaddi community leader.

Karan's name cropped up after former minister and a staunch Virbhadra Singh loyalist declined to contest the poll. There were also rumours about his joining the BJP if the party agrees to field him as its candidate.

Asked about this BJP state president Satpal Satti said, "The party had taken a principled stand to give ticket only to a person from the party cadres. No outsider was considered for the ticket."

Dharamshala will be a big political testing ground for the BJP once again as it's also in Kangra region, where BJP senior Shanta Kumar been calling shots. Shanta Kumar was denied Lok Sabha ticket and instead was replaced by Krishan Kapoor.

Ashwani Sharma

Ashwani Sharma

Our contributor helps bringing the latest updates to you


Share it
Top