BJP romped home in most assembly segments falling under Hamirpur, Kangra - Hindustan Times
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BJP romped home in most assembly segments falling under Hamirpur, Kangra

By, Dharamshala
Jun 07, 2024 02:11 PM IST

Behind the victories of BJP’s Anurag Thakur and Rajeev Bhardwaj, in Himachal’s Hamirpur and Kangra respectively, were leads in all assembly segments in both the constituencies

The election results from the assembly segments within the Kangra and Hamirpur parliamentary constituencies indicate that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates dominated both areas.

The Congress again failed to break the saffron party’s winning streak in Lok Sabha polls in Himachal. (HT File)
The Congress again failed to break the saffron party’s winning streak in Lok Sabha polls in Himachal. (HT File)

Behind the victories of BJP’s Anurag Thakur and Rajeev Bhardwaj, in Hamirpur and Kangra respectively, were leads in all assembly segments in both the constituencies.

Although the victory margins for BJP candidates in Kangra and Hamirpur have decreased compared to the last elections in 2019, the Congress again failed to break the saffron party’s winning streak.

The Congress party’s MLAs failed to pull their weight in Kangra. Despite the party having good representation of 11 out of 17 MLAs, the Congress candidate Anand Sharma was unable to secure a lead in any of the segments. The party had heavily relied on its local leadership to secure a victory for Sharma, who had entered electoral politics after four decades. The contest proved to be a cakewalk for Rajeev Bhardwaj, who secured the seat by a margin of 2.51 lakh votes.

In the Kangra parliamentary seat, Rajeev Bhardwaj took huge leads from Kangra, Sullah, Shahpur, Nurpur, Chamba and Jawali assembly constituencies.

In Hamirpur, Anurag Thakur also secured leads in all assembly segments barring deputy CM Mukesh Agnihotri’s home turf of Haroli. From Nadaun, the home assembly constituency of CM Sukhu, Thakur managed to take the lead by securing 35,373 votes compared to 33,230 votes polled by his opponent and Congress candidate Satpal Raizada.

In Haroli, the constituency represented by Agnihotri, Raizada secured 31,876 votes against his opponent’s 30,341.

The choice of candidate by the Congress seems to have played a role in the party’s loss, with a senior leader viewing the late announcement of the Kangra candidate poorly. Sharma had earlier fought election in 1982 from Shimla before serving as a Rajya Sabha for multiple terms. He was thus targeted by the BJP for being an “outsider”.

“The candidate lacked a mass connection as he had not been active in electoral politics in Himachal for a long time. Additionally, the Modi factor played a role in both Hamirpur and Kangra, as people believed he would form the government at the Centre again. The Congress also delayed implementing its poll guarantee of providing 1,500 to women above 18 years old,” the Congress leader said.

The leader further added that the Congress’ block-level committees were also weak and could not perform according to expectations at the grassroots level.

‘A state-Centre divide’

Harish Kumar Thakur of the political science department, Himachal Pradesh University (HPU), said the BJP’s third consecutive sweep shows how wise the voters in the state were.

“Voters decided to vote for Congress in the state assembly and BJP at the Centre. The reasons are explicit as Himachal voters believe that the Congress does not have capable leadership which could lead the country and maintain the momentum of development of the country. The BJP leadership has proved and impacted the lives of even the poor and marginalised,” he said.

“The voter in Himachal has traditionally too, shown more trust in BJP than Congress due to better performance. The role of central leadership in national security is significant which goes well with the voters, who have a significant fraction of ex-servicemen,” Thakur added.

Notably, the Congress had a silver lining by winning four of the six assembly segments, which were crucial for the stability and survival of the state government.

Prem Koshal, Congress’ chief spokesperson, said “We have seen that Himachal has voted for BJP in the last three Lok Sabha elections. However, the people have voted differently at the state level, which we have seen this time as well in the bypolls. So, the party will analyse this trend and form a strategy accordingly for the future elections.”

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