Simmering discontent has BJP uneasy in Himachal

Shimla: Maintaining an outer calm, discontent is simmering within BJP as the party gets down to the task of picking up election candidate for the upcoming assembly elections.

Dissent may be out in the open in Congress but as elections draw closer, cracks are beginning to become visible in the ruling party as potential BJP election candidates have begun to sake claims for tickets from their preferred constituencies, said a BJP office bearer privy to deliberations in the party.

Spat over claims for the Jwalamukhi seat in Kangra district between food and civil supply minister Ramesh Dhwala and irrigation and public health minister Ravinder Ravi was buried by the party after putting out a gag order on going public about ticket claims.

The traditional seat of Ravi was disbanded by the delimitation commission forcing the leader to look for another constituency.

PK Dhumal, Himachal Elections, Himachal BJPUrmil Thakur, Himachal Elections, Himachal BJPWith chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal undecided about contesting the elections either from Hamirpur or Sujanpur seat, sitting legislator Urmila Thakur is on shaky ground at Hamirpur for she may be asked either not to contest or be shifted to Sujanpur, a seat that also has another powerful claimant in Rajender Rana getting ready for the polls.

Bamsan, the traditional seat of Dhumal, has been abolished and its areas stand merged with other seats.

With many ticket aspirants in Mewa in Hamirpur district banking on the possibility of retiring the aging ID Dhiman, the education minister, the octogenarian leader has protested as he has expressed interest in contesting again.

Party insiders reveal that in Bilaspur Sadar, a seat vacated by JP Nadda on being elected to the Rajya Sabha, Mallika Nadda is being considered a strong contender to fill the slot. However, the local leadership is said to be resisting the move.

Delimitation of seats having reserved Solan and Rohru constituencies has upset plans of former health minister Rajeev Bindal and Kushi Ram Balnatah of contesting the polls from their home seats.

Hunting for seats to contest from is causing heartburns in Kasumpati constituency from where Balnatah has staked a claim to contest and in Nahanm, a seat that Bindal is said to be eying.

With party spokesman Ganesh Dutt staking a claim for contesting from Shimla urban seat, sitting legislator Suresh Bhardwaj is miffed at the move.

Independent legislator Rakesh Verma having displayed his strength by showcasing hundreds of supporters before chief minister Dhumal recently to stake a claim for Chopal seat is being resented by other prospective candidates who were hoping to fill the vacuum created by former BJP leader Radha Raman Shastri having quit the party.

At public rallies being held by the ruling party potential candidates are holding similar strength shows to be considered the rightful claimants to put up for the contest.

Satpal Singh SattiIssuing out a disciplinary diktat, state BJP president Satpal Singh Satti said, “candidates have been asked not to staking their claims publically as it is an internal matter of the party.”

Speaking to Hill Post, Satti said, “we have not begun the exercise of selecting election candidates yet but strength shows would not be considered instead party loyalty and working on the ground would be counted for picking out the right candidates.”

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