Shimla: Bye-election to Mandi parliamentary seat creeping up has both BJP and Congress out activating cadres for a semi-final round before General Lok Sabha elections come up in May 14.
Talking to Hillpost, chief electoral officer HP, Narinder Chauhan said, “elections guidelines hold that election to a seat vacated by a member should be held within 6 months and that date falls due by 2nd July.”
Should there be no development about holding an early general election that is scheduled for May 14 the election schedule for Mandi seat could be released over the next fortnight, said Chauhan.
On being elected chief minister for the 6th time, Virbhadra Singh had resigned from the union cabinet as well as vacated the Mandi seat on 2nd January.
Sensing an election call to be made any day soon, Pratibha Singh, a former MP and wife of Virbhadra Singh, has already expressed her desire to contest the bye-election.
“Should the party high command desire so, I’m ready to contest from the Mandi seat,” said Pratibha Singh.
The last time she desired to contest a bye-election from Rohru assembly seat, at a time Virbhadra Singh had vacated it after being elected from Mandi parliamentary seat in 2008 general Lok Sabha elections to join as union minister in Manmohan Singh government, the congress high command had denied Pratibha Singh a ticket to contest the vacated assembly seat.
While the chief minister wife is the front runner for the Mandi ticket for the congress, BJP – the party that lost power in the state just 4 months ago is on the lookout for a candidate to put up, should an election be announced soon.
To activate cadres after having lost the assembly election, BJP with a restructured state executive committee held its first meeting in Kullu recently.
While party insiders claimed that no talk about any election candidate was held at the meeting, but sources maintained that the choice is zeroing down on Jai Ram Thakur, a former minister and Ram Swaroop Sharma as likely contenders for the BJP ticket.
Former BJP president Maheshwar Singh, a two time MP from Mandi who on one occasion has defeated Pratibha Singh for the seat, has quit the party and now heads the regional outfit Himachal Lokhit Party.
Four months ago Maheshwar was elected from Kullu assembly seat to be the sole representative of the outfit in the state legislature.