BJP rebel, former mayor frontrunners for Congress’ ticket for Dharamshala by-poll - Hindustan Times
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BJP rebel, former mayor frontrunners for Congress’ ticket for Dharamshala by-poll

By, Dharamshala
Apr 23, 2024 09:06 AM IST

Himachal CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who was in Dharamshala on Sunday, held meetings with the party leaders to discuss the strategy for the upcoming by-polls and Lok Sabha elections

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rebel Rakesh Chaudhary and former Dharamshala mayor Devinder Singh Jaggi are among the names being considered for the Congress party to give the ticket for the by-election in Dharamshala, set to be held alongside Lok Sabha polls in the final phase on June 1.

Congress is yet to announce its candidates for the by-poll in Himachal. (HT File)
Congress is yet to announce its candidates for the by-poll in Himachal. (HT File)

The other two names doing rounds include Manoj Thakur, a prominent Gaddi leader and Harbhajan Chaudhary, president of the Dharamshala Block Congress Committee, party sources said.

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Himachal chief minister (CM) Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, who was in Dharamshala on Sunday, held meetings with the party leaders to discuss the strategy for the upcoming elections and met ticket aspirants.

The names of Vijay Inder Karan and Sheilja Katoch, daughter-in-law of former Union minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch, also cropped up.

BJP has fielded Sudhir Sharma, who was among six Congress legislators who cross-voted in favour of the BJP candidate during the tumultuous February Rajya Sabha polls. They were disqualified later for violating the party whip in a subsequent motion, following which they joined the BJP. They all will now contest by-polls on the BJP tickets.

Congress is looking to field a strong face to take on Sudhir Sharma, a former minister and four-time MLA, and has a strong presence on ground. Congress may also capitalise on the anger within the Gaddi community, which has a significant presence in the Dharamshala. The community has expressed dissatisfaction after the BJP recently went with Rajiv Bhardwaj over sitting MP Kishan Kapoor, a Gaddi community leader, for the Lok Sabha elections.

Chaudhary, who was the BJP candidate in the 2022 assembly elections, resigned from the BJP last month after the party fielded Congress turncoat Sudhir Sharma for the Dharamsala byelection. Chaudhary has earlier contested the by-election in 2019 as an independent candidate.

Vijay Inder Karan, who contested Dharamshala by-poll in 2019 as Congress candidate, lost his security deposit after he failed to get even the required one-sixth of total votes polled. Meanwhile, the party sources said that fielding Rakesh Chaudhary may give rise to discontent among the party ranks which may not be good for the party ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

While BJP has fielded all the six Congress rebels in six constituencies that are going to by-polls on June 1, the Congress is yet to announce its candidates.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Dar Ovais is the Dharamshala-based correspondent in the Himachal Pradesh bureau of Hindustan Times. He covers politics, tourism, Tibetan affairs and environmental issues.

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