Anand Sharma vs Rajeev Bhardwaj: A High-Stakes Battle for Kangra in the Upcoming Lok Sabha Elections

In a strategic move for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Congress Party has nominated former Union Minister Anand Sharma (born 5 January 1953) to contest from the Kangra constituency in Himachal Pradesh. This decision pits him against the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) candidate, Dr. Rajeev Bhardwaj (born 25 November 1962), setting the stage for a compelling electoral contest.

Both candidates share similar community backgrounds, as they belong to the Brahmin community, and are making their debut in Lok Sabha elections. Anand Sharma’s political journey includes multiple terms in the Rajya Sabha, beginning in April 1984, and stints as a Union Minister. His close ties with Himachal Pradesh’s current Chief Minister, Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, and several local MLAs, who also support Sharma, play a crucial role in this candidacy.

The BJP has taken a notable turn by choosing Dr. Rajeev Bhardwaj over the incumbent MP, Kishan Kapoor. Bhardwaj is recognized for his proximity to former Chief Minister Shanta Kumar and is expected to leverage his local influence in his first electoral battle.

This election is critical for Congress as it attempts to reclaim the Kangra seat, which has predominantly been a BJP stronghold. The BJP has secured this seat in multiple past elections, with Congress last winning it in 2004. With approximately 20 percent of the constituency’s electorate being Brahmin, both parties have strategically fielded candidates from the community, highlighting the community’s significant influence in this region.

The choice of Anand Sharma, a national figure and a native of Shimla, to contest from Kangra has been seen as a surprising yet calculated move by the Congress high command. This decision was made after extensive consultations with local party leaders, underlining the importance of this seat in the broader electoral strategy of the Congress.

As both parties gear up for a critical showdown, the Kangra Lok Sabha constituency is set to be a focal point of the electoral dynamics in Himachal Pradesh, with both candidates poised to leverage their Brahmin heritage and political affiliations to sway voters in their favor.

Some rebel leaders of both the national parties are also expected to file their nominations which can further make this constituency a hot up seat.

The votes shall be polled on 1st June and the result shall be declared on 4th of June here.

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