HP bypolls: BJP, Cong faces tough challenge in 3 assembly segments

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HP bypolls: BJP, Cong faces tough challenge in 3 assembly segments
© Provided by The Statesman HP bypolls: BJP, Cong faces tough challenge in 3 assembly segments

Rebellions in party cadres and strong independent candidates in three assembly segments of Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal Kotkhai constituency has made bypolls a tough challenge for both Congress and BJP in Himachal Pradesh.

The ruling party is facing rebellion in all three assembly segments while Congress is facing infighting in two constituencies of Arki and Fatehpur.

But the independent candidate from Jubbal Kotkhai, Chetan Bragta is too causing discomfort for the opposition party as he is riding on sympathy wave after the death of his father, Narinder Bragta, a former BJP legislature and minister.

In addition, Bragta who is getting support of local BJP unit workers and now been expelled from the ruling party, is also trying to get support of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s loyalists by terming him as a role model.

Singh and Congress candidate from Jubbal Kotkhai, Rohit Thakur’s grandfather former CM Ram Lal Thakur were considered to be fierce opponents which seems to be the reason for Bragta to raise slogans in favour Virbhadra in his public meetings.

Besides, Bragta claims to be the well wisher of horticulturalists in the apple rich belt and has got ‘Apple’ as his election symbol, in the hopes of getting votes by citing development works carried by his father for their welfare in the area.

It remains to be seen as to whose electoral prospects Bragta will pose a major threat as these may decide the win or defeat of Rohit Thakur and Neelam Saraik, BJP candidate from the assembly segment or whether he is able to garner the trust of the electorate in the constituency.

The BJP leadership had tried hard to quell the rebellion and dissuade Bragta from contesting polls with threats of no entry into the party in future if he contests the bypoll but these failed to deter him.

In Arki and Fatehpur, there had been open rebellion by the cadres of both the parties as they were dissatisfied with party’s decision to allocate tickets to Sanjay Awasthi (Congress), Ratan Pal Singh (BJP) in Arki and Bhawani Singh Pathania (Congress) and Baldev Thakur (BJP) in Fatehpur by the opposition and ruling party respectively.

Though both the parties had claimed to have quelled the dissent, the rebel party cadres will decide the fate of candidates of both parties as it remains to be seen as to how many of them switch sides or the percentage of votes each candidate gets from the opposition party on polling day on 30 October.

In Fatehpur assembly segment, independent candidate Rajan Sushant, a former BJP MP and minister who contested elections on AAP ticket in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, too posed threat for ruling as well opposition party.

Sushant is known as an honest firebrand politician for his criticism of party policies which led to expulsion in 2011 and he may make the bypoll in Fatehpur trickier for both the parties.

It is worth mentioning here that the bypolls to these three assembly segments were necessitated due to the deaths of former CM Virbhadra Singh (Arki), former BJP minister Narinder Bragta (Jubbal Kotkhai) and former Congress minister Sujan Singh Pathania (Fatehpur).

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