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Apple belt gives a divided verdict; Congress tally dips in traditional bastion of Shimla

In 2012, the Congress won six seats in Shimla district — Shimla rural, Theogh, Kasumpti, Rohru, Rampur, Jubbal Kotkhai. Independent legislator Balbir Verma won from Choupal. He later sided with the Congress.

india Updated: Dec 19, 2017 11:34 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Apple belt,Himachal,himachal elections
BJP candidate from Shimla Urban Suresh Bhardwaj celebrating his victory with supporters on Monday. (Deepak Sansta/HT)

Regions have played a vital role in shaping the political contours of state. The absence of a clear wave in the apple belt — Shimla, Kinnaur and Kullu districts — comprising 12 (almost 20%) of the 68 assembly segments has reflected in the assembly results as well. The Congress failed to perform up to expectations. The party’s tally went down in Shimla to five from the eight it held now, even as the area is considered to be its bastion.

Surprise for Kullu royalty
  • There was surprise in store in Kullu, where BJP stalwart and scion of the royal family of Kullu, Maheshwar Singh lost to Congress’ Sunder Singh Thakur. Maheshwar is the nephew of former Congress minister Karan Singh.

In 2012, the Congress won six seats in Shimla district — Shimla rural, Theogh, Kasumpti, Rohru, Rampur, Jubbal Kotkhai. Independent legislator Balbir Verma won from Choupal. He later sided with the Congress.

In Kullu, BJP’s Govind Thakur won from Manali. Himachal Lokhit Party’s Maheshwar Singh won the Kullu seat on. He later merged it with the BJP. In Kinnaur, the single seat was won by Congress’ Jagat Singh Negi.

Usually, there is a direct link seen between performance in the Apple belt and the overall electoral performance. The BJP has won three seats. This time, what was also politically significant was that Virbhadra Singh shifted to Arki and senior leader Vidya Stokes opted out of electoral politics.

A former minister in the BJP government Narender Bragta won from Jubbal Kotkhai, the strong, apple-rich constituency that saw violent protests following the July rape and murder of a schoolgirl. Bragta defeated Congress’ Rohit Thakur with a margin of over 1,000 votes. Thakur, a former chief parliamentary secretary, and two-time legislator is grandson of former Congress chief minister Ram Lal Thakur.

Anirudh Singh retained his Kasumpti seat defeating BJP’s Vijay Jyoti Sen — sister in- law of chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife — Pratibha Singh. Sen had joined the BJP just ahead of the polls. CPI (M)’s Rakesh Singh won from Theogh assembly segment.

In Virbhadra’s hometown, his loyalist wins
  • From Rampur Bushar, the home town of Virbhadra Singh, his loyalist chief parliamentary secretary Nand Lal defeated BJP’s Prem Singh Draik.
  • In Rohru, Virbhadra loyalist Mohan Lal Brakta defeated his nearest rival Shashi Bala.

From Rampur Bushar, the home town of Virbhadra Singh, his loyalist chief parliamentary secretary Nand Lal defeated BJP’s Prem Singh Draik. In Rohru, Virbhadra loyalist Mohan Lal Brakta defeated his nearest rival Shashi Bala.

There was surprise in store in Kullu, where BJP stalwart and scion of the royal family of Kullu, Maheshwar Singh lost to Congress’ Sunder Singh Thakur. Maheshwar is the nephew of former Congress minister Karan Singh. In Manali, the BJP strongman, young leader Govind Singh Thakur won forthe third consecutive time from Manali.Congress’ Aditya Vikram Singh lost from Banjarto BJP’s Surender Shaurie; in Ani BJP’s Kishori Lal won defeatedCongress’Paras Ram.

Formidable state leaders comes from here

The region is known for producing formidable leaders. Two Congress leaders six-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh, another former CM Thakur Ram Lal, who also remained the governor of Andhra Pradesh, hail from the region. Jai Bihari Lal Khachi was another powerful leader from the area. Master strategist, as he was known as, Khachi’s existence has always threatened the Congress leadership.

BJP’s Bragta prevails in Jubbal Kotkhai

A former minister in the BJP government Narender Bragta won from Jubbal Kotkhai, the strong, apple-rich constituency that saw violent protests following the July rape and murder of a schoolgirl. Bragta defeated Congress’ Rohit Thakur with a margin of over 1,000 votes. Thakur, a former chief parliamentary secretary, and two-time legislator is grandson of former Congress chief minister Ram Lal Thakur.

First Published: Dec 19, 2017 11:34 IST