Kangana among Himachal BJP contenders for Mandi LS ticket

Oct 02, 2021 04:36 PM IST

Bollywood actor’s name figured in the first round of discussions for the byelection candidate from her home constituency of Mandi

Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut figures among the aspirants for the BJP ticket for the byelection to the Mandi Lok Sabha seat that has been vacant since the death of Ramswaroop Sharma in March this year.

Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut during a meeting with Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BJP leader Yogi Adityanath at his residence in Lucknow on Friday. (PTI Photo)
Bollywood actor Kangana Ranaut during a meeting with Uttar Pradesh chief minister and BJP leader Yogi Adityanath at his residence in Lucknow on Friday. (PTI Photo)

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The state election committee of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party will meet in Dharamshala soon to draw a panel of candidates for the October 30 byelections in the three assembly segments of Fatehpur, Jubbal Kotkhai and Arki besides the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency.

The Arki seat fell vacant after six-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh died on July 8, while the Jubbal Kotkhai incumbent Narendra Bratga passed away in June and former transport minister Sujan Singh Pathania, who represented Fatehpur died earlier.

Though Kangana has not openly expressed her desire to contest the elections, the BJP top brass has already had one round of discussions on the prospective candidates and her name was discussed. One section of the party was averse to allotting the ticket to her.

Kangana belongs to Bhambla village in Mandi district and has built a new house in Manali, which is also a part of the Mandi parliamentary constituency.

CM’s aide among contenders for Mandi ticket

Pankaj Jamwal, the BJP leader from Jogindernagar and the younger brother of BJP organisational secretary for the seven northeast states Ajay, is also vying for the ticket.

Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur’s aide, Nihal Chand, who was the Milkfed chairman, is also said to be keen to contest from Mandi.

Kargil war hero Brigadier Kushal Thakur has been lobbying to contest the elections from Mandi since long. He was interested to contest in 2017 but the party preferred sitting Lok Sabha member, Ramswaroop Sharma.

Ajay Sharma, the BJP spokesman, was also vying for tickets along with state media coordinator Praveen Sharma. The names of state Jal Shakti minister Mahender Singh and education minister Govind Thakur also figure among the contenders.

Party’s poll committee gathers feedback

The party’s state election committee includes Jai Ram Thakur, Union sports minister Anurag Thakur, state party chief Suresh Kashyap, BJP national vice-president Saudan Singh, state party in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna said and co in-charge Sanjay Tandon, BJP organisational secretary Pawan Rana, former state party chief Satpal Singh Satti, former speaker Rajiv Bindal and party general secretaries Trilok Jamwal, Trilok Kapoor and Rakesh Jamwal.

The committee will also hold a meeting with in-charges appointed for the byelections, including state industries minister Vikram Singh Thakur, power minister Sukhram Chaudhary, forest minister Rakesh Pathania, health minister Rajiv Sehjal, education minister Govind Thakur, jal shakti minister Mahender Singh Thakur and Bindal. The in-charges are to share feedback on the preparations and prospects of the candidates.

Frontrunners and challenges

Narendra Bragta’s son Chetan is the frontrunner from Jubbal Kotkhai, while former zila parishad member Neelam Seraik is also vying for the ticket.

In Arki, the BJP has given the go-ahead to Rattan Pal Singh, while former legislator Govind Ram Sharma has threatened to contest as an independent.

The party faces a tough challenge to select the candidate in Fatehpur with former Rajya Sabha member Kripal Parmar besides Baldev Thakur and Rita Thakur vying for the ticket.

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    Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

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