The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) parliamentary board, which met in New Delhi on Thursday, put its stamp on three candidates from Himachal Pradesh for the Lok Sabha elections.
The board cleared the names of Shanta Kumar as its candidate from Kangra, sitting Lok Sabha member Virender Kashyap for Shimla, and Anurag Thakur for Hamirpur. The board, however, remained inconclusive on the Mandi seat.
During the meeting, the board discussed candidates shortlisted for Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, and three Northeast states. Himachal state president Satpal Singh Satti, former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and state organisational secretary Pavan Rana attended the meeting.
The state BJP election committee that had recently met in Chandigarh had cleared the three candidates.
For Mandi Lok Sabha seat, BJP was unable to find a suitable candidate who could challenge Congress’ sitting Lok Sabha member, Pratibha Singh. The BJP is putting in all efforts to win over its former Lok Sabha member Maheshwar Singh, who had left the BJP before the assembly election in 2012 and formed a separate outfit, Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP).
If the saffron party fails to rope in Maheshwar Singh, the central leadership is most likely to bet on four-time legislator from Seraj, Jairam Thakur, who had unsuccessfully contested the byelection from Mandi against Pratibha Singh in 2013 and lost by more than 1-lakh votes.