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BJP’s election panel to meet shortly for selecting candidate

punjab Updated: Mar 30, 2014 21:10 IST
Gaurav Bisht

With the Election Commission setting the ball rolling for the assembly by-elections in Sujanpur, the major political parties - ruling Congress and opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has begun to scout for candidates, even as both have few choices.

“Party's state election committee will meet shortly to finalise the ticket for Sujanpur,” state BJP president Satpal Singh Satti told Hindustan Times.

BJP's state election committee, comprising the senior leaders, will meet this week to deliberate on the choice of candidates for Sujanpur - that fell vacant after Independent legislator Rajender Rana quit assembly to contest for Lok Sabha on Congress ticket.

Rana, who won Independent, had to resign to fulfill constitutional obligations, as the persons who winning elections on individual identity have to quit Assembly to contest elections from any other political party.

The prominent leaders in the election committee include national vice president Balbir Punj, national general secretary JP Nadda, former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Shanta Kumar, BJYM national president Anurag Thakur, state party chief Satpal Singh Satti, and party's state organisational secretary Pawan Rana. Other members include former state BJP president Suresh Bhardwaj, Jai Ram Thakur, Khimi Ram, Suresh Chandel and Jai Krishan Sharma.

Even as time is running out for both Congress and the BJP to finalise its candidates the names of the probable have already begin doing rounds.

BJP could possibly rely on its former two-time legislator Urmil Thakur, since she shifted to newly-carved Sujanpur from traditional Hamirpur in the last assembly elections.

Former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal contested from Hamirpur after Bamson was abolished in the delimitation of assembly segment.

Urmil Thakur, who contested her first election in 1998, said that she would claim for BJP's ticket as she was asked to contest Vidhan Sabha elections from Sujanpur.

“Yes I will claim for the BJP ticket as I have contested Vidhan Sabha election from Sujanpur leaving my traditional seat Hamirpur on party's direction,” said she.

“I will obey party's decision. Whoever will be the candidate, I would support,” said she.

Recently, Narender Thakur - brother-in-law of Urmil and son of BJP's deceased stalwart Jagdev Chand Thakur, has returned to the party fold. There is speculation that party could offer him the ticket to contest from Sujanpur. Narender Thakur has unsuccessfully contested five elections. Narender contested in 1994, in bi-election after sudden demise of his father. Narender had contested two elections on Congress ticket- Loksabha and Vidhansabha each, against Anurag Thakur and Prem Kumar Dhumal in 2009 and 2012 respectively.

Dhumal's younger son Arun Thakur's name is also doing rounds, but his candidature is unlikely since his elder brother Anurag is party's nominee for Lok Sabha from Hamirpur. Congress will have to scout hard to find a leader who can take on BJP's bastion.

State Congress party chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said that a candidate would be decided only after consultation with chief minister Virbhadra Singh.