The inordinate delay in declaration of its candidate for Mandi parlimentary constituency has virtually demoralised BJP workers in Manali, Kullu, Banjar and Ani assembly segments in Kullu district and the neighbouring tribal district of Lahaul and Spiti.
On the other hand, the Congress workers are upbeat with the declaration of sitting MP Pratibha Singh as Congress candidate from Mandi.
It may be recalled that Mandi parliamentary constituency has been represented in the past by stalwarts like chief minister Virbhadra Singh, Ganga Singh, Maheshwer Singh, former Union communication minister Sukh Ram and Pratibha Singh. Obviously, this sprawling constituency is not less prestigious and significant than Kangra and Hamirpur constituencies.
It is pertinent to mention that this geographically tough and far-flung constituency consists of Mandi, Seraj, Nachan, Balah, Sunder Nagar, Karsog, Joginder Nagar, Drung, Gopalpur constituencies of Mandi district, Kullu, Manali, Banjar and Ani segments of Kullu district, Rampur of Shimla and tribal areas of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, and Pangi- Bharmour segments of Chamba district.
“Mandi constituency is the biggest in the state, and with elections nearing, how can the candidate cover such a large area if not declared at the earliest,” said Bhuvneshwer Thakur, a local Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) leader, while interacting with HT. He questioned that if the party really wants Narendra Modi as the next PM, then why the declaration of BJP candidate for Mandi seat was being unnecessarily delayed.
A senior BJP leader from the district under the condition of anonymity said that if the party high command delays the declaration of party nominee, it would be difficult for the workers to gear up for the poll campaign and this delay would benefit the Congress.
Distirct BJP president Govind Singh Thakur said that party high command has the “tough and challenging task” of finalising the list of suitable candidates all over the country.
“Obviously, it may take some time more. The BJP workers should not worry, and be ready to campaign in support of any party candidate nominated for the seat,” said Govind.
Meanwhile, Sunder Thakur, a senior Congress leader and Congress candidate from Kullu assembly constituency during last state assembly polls, said that poll campaign in support of Congress candidate Pratibha Singh would be launched soon.
“BJP seems to have dearth of candidates for Mandi, that is why they have not been able to declare any nominee as yet,” said Sunder.Besides, former Congress minister Satya Prakash Thakur and Prem Lata Thakur, zila parishad member and senior leaders close to CM Virbhadra Singh have commenced canvassing in support of Pratibha Singh.