Sons bat for fathers on their battlefields


Shimla/Hamirpur: Politics may still be a distant destination for sons of Himachal Pradesh veteran politicians, but they have already taken the road much travelled to politics while campaigning for their fathers.

Five-time Congress chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s son Vikramaditya Singh and two-time BJP chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s youngest son Arun Dhumal are campaigning aggressively on the new battlegrounds of their fathers. Both are also the star campaigners for their respective parties.

Vikramaditya Singh, like his father, does not hesitate to fold his hands in traditional ‘Namaste’ and bow his head before the commoners to seek votes for the party in Shimla (rural) seat. Dhumal’s son’s demeanour is much the same in Hamirpur constituency.

Both Virbhadra Singh and Prem Kumar Dhumal are testing the political waters in these constituencies for the first time.

While Virbhadra Singh’s bastion Rohru in Shimla district has been reserved for the Scheduled Castes after the delimitation commission redrew the boundaries of constituencies in Himachal after a gap of three decades, Dhumal’s stronghold Bamsan in Hamirpur district has been scrapped.

The state Congress chief is contesting from a newly-created constituency, whereas the BJP leader is contesting from a constituency which has a sizeable number of voters shifted from the scrapped Bamsan cosntituency.

Dhumal has won three consecutive elections from Bamsan, including the last with a margin of over 26,000 votes, while Virbhadra Singh wrested Rohru five times with record margins.

“To ensure the victory of Raja saab (as Virbhadra Singh is popularly known), his entire team is making efforts and I am part of the team. He will again have a historic win,” said Vikramaditya Singh (23), a student of Delhi’s St. Stephens College.

Virbhadra Singh is scheduled to visit Shimla (rural) Monday. However, his son said very few visits of Raja Saab were planned to the constituency. “His focus is on ensuring the victory of all the candidates,” Vikramaditya Singh said.

Similarly, Arun Dhumal is campaigning strong so that his father firmly strikes roots in the new constituency.

“Our party workers in Hamirpur want Dhumalji to focus on the remaining 67 seats. He is a grassroots leader and the people here will choose him with a record margin,” Arun Dhumal said.

“He (Prem Kumar Dhumal) has no plan to tour in his constituency,” he added.

For more than a week, 37-year-old Arun Dhumal, who runs a private school in Punjab’s Jalandhar town and filed papers as a covering candidate of his father in the past two assembly elections, has been campaigning in Hamirpur along with other family members.

“I am here till elections,” he added.

The senior BJP leader will file his nomination papers in Hamirpur Oct 16. After that his supporters have planned a rally.

His arch rival, former micro, small and medium enterprises minister Virbhadra Singh, who has completed 50 years in active politics in February, will file papers in Shimla Oct 17, the last date for filing nominations. He too will hold a rally in the town after that.

As many as 45.9 lakh Himachal voters will cast their ballots Nov 4 and the results will be declared Dec 20.


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