Congress puts up united face as Anand Sharma, Vikramaditya file nomination - Hindustan Times
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Congress puts up united face as Anand Sharma, Vikramaditya file nomination

By, , Shimla/dharamshala
May 10, 2024 09:54 AM IST

Comes a couple of months after political upheaval rattled the CM Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led state government after cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha elections

A couple of months after political upheaval rattled the chief minister (CM) Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu-led state government after cross-voting in the Rajya Sabha elections, Congress put up a united face as public works department minister Vikramaditya Singh and former Union minister Anand Sharma filed their nominations from Mandi and Kangra Lok Sabha seats respectively.

Vikrmadiya at Seri Manch Mandi after filing his nomination as Congress candidate from Mandi. (Birbal Sharma/HT)
Vikrmadiya at Seri Manch Mandi after filing his nomination as Congress candidate from Mandi. (Birbal Sharma/HT)

Sukhu, party’s state unit chief Pratibha Singh and party in-charge for Himachal Rajeev Shukla, deputy CM Mukesh Agnihotri, co in-charge AICC secretary Sanjay Dutt accompanied Vikramaditya to the office of returning officer for nomination filing

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Later addressing the public meeting, the Congress leaders lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Vikramaditya took a dig at his opponent from Mandi, Kangana Ranaut, saying, “My opponent speaks about everything but development. She has not uttered a single word about her vision for the Mandi constituency.”

“This fight is now with any one personality. My fight is for the existence of Mandi and to make it the best constituency in the country. I will fight for development, making Mandi a Smart City, executing the Bhubhu Jot tunnel project and other issues.”

Thanking the public for their support, Sukhla exuded confidence in Vikramaditya Singh winning the seat before appealing to voters to ensure that each electorate in Mandi casts their ballot.

Sukhu, meanwhile, highlighted the achievements of the state government, emphasising on the disaster relief measure undertaken after the devastating monsoon floods last year in Mandi and Kullu. He said the government has already amended the relief manual to enhance compensation, “The compensation for construction of the damaged house was raised from 1 lakh to 7 lakh.”

Attacking former CM Jai Ram Thakur, “He directed three films, one in assembly elections ‘Rivaz Badlo (Change the Trend)’, the second Operation Lotus and not another one by allotting a ticket to Kangana. Like the first two, the third film will als flop.”

He heaped praise on the Congress candidate and his colleague in the state government, Vikramaditya, dubbing him a “young hero”.

Agnihotri also took a dig at Jai Ram, saying, “I pity him as a leader of his stature has been reduced to running from one place to another just introducing the party nominee from Mandi. What’s more astonishing is that he does not even find a place in the vehicle.”

He also highlighted the contribution of Virbhadra and Pratibha Singh, both of whom have represented Mandi in the Lok Sabha, towards developing the constituency, adding, “Vikramaditya will stand with the people of Mandi in the long run.”

Former Union minister and Congress candidate from Kangra parliamentary constituency, Anand Sharma, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections for the first time in his four-decade long career, also filed his nomination papers in Dharamshala.

The leader had contested the assembly polls from Shimla in 1982 and had a long stint as a Rajya Sabha member for the party.

Besides Sukhu, Pratibha Singh, Shukla, and Agnihotri, he was also accompanied by assembly speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania and other senior party leaders.

Sharma addressed a public rally after filing his papers, saying, “I thank the party high command for making me the candidate from here. Our workers are our backbone. It’s them who fight the election on ground level and take our voice to every doorstep.”

He praised the work done by the Sukhu-led government, saying it has done a great job in Himachal before blasting the BJP for failing to fulfil the promises made during the 2019 election.

“In previous Lok Sabha elections, promises were made to you but it is your time now to seek answers from them. Today, when our opponents come among people, answers should be sought from them about the promises they made to you,” he said, adding, “There are several problems that people are facing in Himachal and the whole country like unemployment and inflation.”

Sharma, who will take on BJP candidate Rajeev Bhardwaj, a relative of former CM Shanta Kumar, is banking on his contribution to the development of Kangra region when he was a Union minister in the UPA government.

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