BJP in Himachal fields green horn Baldev Raj from Jawali

Shmlila: BJP today decided to field green-horn Baldev Raj Choudhary from Jawali constituency in Kangra and put up veteran candidate Khushi Ram Balnahta from Rohru, even though he has lost the last four elections from the seat.

Balnahta, who is chairman of the HP State Cooperative Bank, is also a general secretary of the party.

Challenging the domain of Virbhadra Singh, the former chief minister, in Rohru, he was the party candidate in 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2007.

Despite losing the seat successively, his voting percentage in the constituency has been on the rise. With Virbhadra being elected to parliament in May, he vacated the assembly seat that he had been representing since 1990, precipitating the bye-election.

The contest in Rohru is being keenly watched as Balnahta makes one last effort to get elected from his home constituency before it is reserved for scheduled caste candidate as the new delimitation of constituencies comes into force next time around.

With the BJP high command refusing to give the Jawali ticket to Sudha Sushant, wife of the Rajan Sushant, the parliamentarian from Kangra, the ticket was decided in favor of Choudhary, a green horn in electoral politics but who has been with the party organization for a long time.

The Jawali seat was represented by Rajan Sushant, since December 2007 and only fell vacant after he was elected to parliament, earlier in the year.

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