Himachal BJP Emboldened To Try Wrest Rohru From Congress

Shimla: With Pratibha Singh’s, wife of steel minister Virbhadra Singh, effort to enter the Vidhan Sabha stalled for the time being, it is perhaps BJP’s best chance to win the congress bastion Rohru, as Kushi Ram Balnahta, the BJP candidate who has so far lost every election he contested from here, makes one last bid.

A buoyant chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal told select media, “We intend to win Rohru and create history.” Banking on the resentment among Virbhadra loyalists, the chief minister says, “congress is in disarray and BJP is going to benefit.”

As news about Pratibha Singh being denied the congress ticket spread in the constituency on Friday, the block congress committee threatened to resign en-mass.

Harinder Rawat, an unsuccessful applicant for the ticket, when he reached the congress office on that day was heckled.

Vikramaditya, son of Pratibha, who had begun campaigning from the remote region of Dodra-Kawar of the constituency, beat a hasty retreat as it became clear that his mother was not being given the ticket.

Balnahta has fought five elections against a sitting chief minister but lost each one of them though his vote share had been increasing with each successive bid.

Warding off a bid by rival Davinder Busheri for the BJP ticket, Balnahta said, “the party by banking on me and the voters wary of having lived under a one man rule (meaning Virbhardra) are reposing faith in me.”

Under delimitation of assembly seats Rohru is marked to be a reserved constituency in the next general assembly election, but with it falling vacant mid-way during this term, a bye-election offers the best chance for BJP to storm the congress bastion.

Manjit Thakur, the young congress candidate conceded that there was resentment among congressmen in the constituency.

“Some people are definitely disgruntled with me being the congress candidate, but everything will settle down once steel minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh campaign for me in the constituency,” said Thakur.

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