Mukesh Agnihotri front runner to take on Anurag Thakur for Hamirpur seat

Shimla: Back channels in both Congress and BJP are working overtime to come out with their candidates for the four Lok Sabha seats in Himachal Pradesh at the earliest.

Given the huge response that BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Mr Narinder Modi received at the Sujjanpur Tira rally on February 16, Congress is in a quandary as whom to field as a candidate from Hamirpur, considering that BJP was likely to re-nominate Mr Anurag Thakur, national president of Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha (BJYM).

Efforts to rope in Mr Rajinder Rana, who won as an independent from Sujjanpur assembly segment in the 2012 elections, are being resisted by congressmen. Mr Rana candidature is said to have the backing of chief minister Virbhadra Singh.

However, Mr Sukhvinder Singh, state congress party president is strongly opposed to Congress hiring a candidate from outside the party to fight Mr Anurag Thakur, who also happens to be the son of former chief minister Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, for the Hamirpur seat.

Mukesh Agnihotri & Anurag Thakur
Mukesh Agnihotri & Anurag Thakur

Among the other likely candidates suggested for the seat, which include Mr Sukhvinder Singh himself, former minister Mr Ram Lal Thakur, name of industry minister Mr Mukesh Agnihotri name is said to be emerging as the front runner candidate.

The grapevine in the Vidhan Sabha today, the last day of the budget session, was that Mr Agnihotri had been summoned by Delhi and was being asked to take up the challenge of fighting Mr Anurag Thakur in BJP’s stronghold.

On other seats, Congress is said to have zeroed down on Mohan Lal Bragta from Shimla parliamentary seat, Mrs Pratiba Singh from Mandi and Mr Chander Kumar from Kangra seat.

In response, BJP was likely to re-nominate sitting MP Mr Virender Kashyap from Shimla, Mr Shanta Kumar from Kangra and was yet to decide upon Mandi seat, where Mr Jairam Thakur, a former party president, had lost by a huge margin to Mrs Pratibha Singh in a by-election, last year.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik has nurtured Hill Post for over a decade. A chequered path had him drift from managing family owned apple orchards, to turning a documentary filmmaker, to a journalist - with India’s leading television networks and newspapers, to boot strapping in founding Start-Ups. He lives in Shimla.

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