Factionalism in Rohru nags congress in Himachal

logoShimla: Though congress is yet to officially announce its candidates for Rohru and Jwali, the two seats that go to polls a month later, however, reports have surfaced that Pratibha Singh, former MP and wife of union steel minister Virbhadra Singh is all ready to file papers next week.

Sensing the silent opposition brewing within Rohru unit of the party, Vikarmaditya Singh, son of Pratibha Singh is already out camping in the constituency and begun a three day tour of the remote region of Dodra-Kwar.

On arrival in Rohru town, Vikarmaditya let the media know on Saturday that his mother would be filing her papers as a congress candidate on 16th October.

Unaware about any names being cleared for the November 7 polls, Kaul Singh, state party president Kaul Singh said, “a panel of three candidates each, for both the seat have been forwarded to the congress high command who will soon select the election candidate for the ensuing by-poll.”

While Sujjan Singh Pathania for Jwali and Pratibha from Rohru are being considered the front runners but what has raised eyebrows is that two others having applied for the congress ticket for Rohru.

The seat is a stronghold of Virbhadra Singh from where no other congressman had dared to even apply for a ticket till 17 year he had represented it.

Harinder Rawat, son of loyalist Nehar Singh and Manjit Singh Thakur, a panchayat block samiti chairman, the other two applicants for the Rohru tickets has caused a flutter in the congress camp.

District congress president Vidyasagar says, “The district congress committee recommended only one name, the other two have surprised the party.”

Party insiders reveal that Rawat and Thakur have chosen to stake their claim for the ticket in the crucial by-election so as to embarrass Virbhadra Singh, who has been toeing the line of rival faction led by Vidyasagar.

Nehar Singh had made way for Virbhadra in Rohru in 1990 elections, when the former chief minister was under fire from another former chief minister, Thakur Ram Lal, in neighboring Jubbal-Kothkhai constituency, forcing the leader to fight two seats simultaneously .

Winning Rohru did help Virbhadra to retain his dominance over the party, whereas losing in Jubbal-Kothkhai is the only election he has lost in state politics.

For the ruling BJP, elections to Jwali and Rohru are a test of popularity  and the party has decided to field old guard Khushi Ram Balnahta’s for Rohru but in Jwali is yet undecided.

The two seats fell vacant after Virbhadra and Rajan Sushant of BJP were elected to parliament in May. Other than Pratibha Singh, Sudha Sushant, wife of Rajan Sushant, is in the fray for the BJP ticket from Jwali.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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