Congress-BJP Make Last Ditch Efforts As Campaign Ends in Himachal Bye-elections

Shimla: BJP and Congress, the two major contenders for the coming by polls on Saturday here have tried their best to convince people in their favour before the closing of campaign on Thursday.

Former Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh and Himachal leader of opposition Vidya Stokes addressed an impressive rally in Badhukhar in Jawali constituency in Kangra in support of party candidate Sujan Singh Pathania.

Senior leader and BJP Vice President Shanta Kumar also addressed a number of meetings for the party candidate Baldev Raj Chaudhary along with the newly elected MP Rajan Sushant, who had vacated this seat.

Other two independents Madan Sharma, a BJP dissident and Dr Ashok Kumar Somal in the fray continued with their door to door campaign in the constituency.

Madan Sharma who is elder brother of BJP MP Rajan Sushant is making a huge dent in the BJP vote bank and Dr Somal, a retired IFS officer, who is supported by the left parties and even BSP is harming the Congress prospects by making inroads into OBC and youth voters.
Any number of votes secured by these two could be a deciding factor since the contest is going to be a close one, observerors felt.

The upper Shimla constituency of Rohru is also witnessing a close contest this time as the State Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Union Steel Minister Virbhadra Singh are doing their level best to win this seat. Mr Dhumal is himself leading the party campaign
here and promising an epoch-making development if party nominee K R Balnatha gets elected.

On the other hand PCC Chief Kaul Singh, Mr Virbhadra Singh and his supporters who were reluctant earlier and questioning the high commands decision of denying ticket to his wife also tried their best to seek votes for the party candidate Manjeet Thakur. Mr Virbhadra has represented this constituency for five terms and it was a traditional Congress monopoly here.

The BJP has alleged that it was shocked by the backwardness of this rural constituency which was represented by a Chief Minister for such a long time. “You elect Balnatha and you would taste the real development”, is the BJP slogan here now.

All major cabinet colleagues of Chief Minister Dhumal are camping here and addressed a series of meetings on the last day of campaigning and convinced people on the two year achievements of Dhumal government.

Interestingly Ms Pratibha Singh who was denied the ticket by Congress high command also joined her husband Virbhadra Singh on the last day of campaigning for the party candidate Manjeet Thakur, said the Congress campaign incharge.

KY Singh is a political observer and a senior journalist with an interest in a diverse set of issues related to Himachal Pradesh and other mountain states. He lives in Shimla.

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