Dharamshala bypoll: CM, Shanta meet behind closed doors

The Dharamshala assembly constituency fell vacant after sitting MP and former minister, Kishan Kapoor was elected to Lok Sabha in May.
Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur with former chief minister and BJP senior leader, Shanta Kumar in Palampur on Tuesday.(Sourced)
Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur with former chief minister and BJP senior leader, Shanta Kumar in Palampur on Tuesday.(Sourced)
Updated on Sep 03, 2019 10:50 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Dharamshala | By HT Correspondent, Dharamshala

With bypolls for Dharamshala assembly segment drawing closer, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Tuesday held a closed-door meeting with veteran BJP leader and former union minister, Shanta Kumar at latter’s residence in Palampur.

It was learnt that the duo discussed wide range of issues, primarily the byelection to assembly segment of Dharamshala besides the names of potential candidates for the ticket.

The Dharamshala assembly constituency fell vacant after sitting MP and former minister, Kishan Kapoor was elected to Lok Sabha in May.

The octogenarian leader holds a sway in Kangra and Kumar’s advice is sought before finalising the candidate.

More than six leaders are keen to secure the party ticket from Dharamsala, the district headquarters of politically sensitive Kangra district.

Among the frontrunners in the BJP are Rajeev Bhardwaj, the chairman of the Kangra Central Cooperative Bank, and Umesh Dutt, a former Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad general secretary. Bhardwaj, who is also BJP vice-president, is a loyalist of former chief minister Shanta Kumar. Among other ticket aspirants are Rakesh Sharma, a member of the BJP’s state executive and state media co-incharge; Sanjay Sharma, the spokesperson of the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association; and Shashwat Kapoor, the son of former Dharamshala legislator Kishan Kapoor. District BJP president Vinay Sharma is also in the race.

When contacted, Kumar said, “We discussed many issues, including the byelection which are likely to be held in October. Though I have quit electoral politics, the state leaders come to meet me as courtesy.”

He, however, refused to divulge details and remained tight lipped on candidate’s name. “This is a party decision. The BJP has a set procedure for ticket allotment and the final decision will be taken after consulting everyone,” he said.

The senior leader said he discussed the rising menace of drugs in the state, especially Kangra district, and urged the chief minister to take concrete steps.

Rumours have been making rounds on social media that BJP may field veteran leader and former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal from Dharamshala to send him to state assembly.

However, they were dismissed by chief minister who said the party is yet to finalise the name of candidate for both the seats.

“Sometimes such rumours are creation of media,” he said.

Cabinet expansion after bypolls: CM

The chief minister said the cabinet expansion will take place after the bypolls for Dharamshala and Pachhad constituencies.

“Presently, our focus is on assembly elections and Global Investors’ Meet, which is slated to be held on November 7 and 8”, said Thakur during an informal talk with the media here on Tuesday.He said the party is gathering feedback and would finalise the name of candidates for both the seats soon. “Meetings are being held to discuss names of potential candidates from the two seats. cabinet expansion will take place after byelections,” he said.

The chief minister said the cabinet expansion will take place after the bypolls for Dharamshala and Pachhad constituencies.

“Presently, our focus is on byelections and Global Investors’ Meet, which is slated to be held on November 7 and 8”, said Thakur during an informal talk with media persons here on Tuesday.

Thakur said the party is gathering feedback and would finalise the name of candidates for both the seats soon.

“Meetings are being held to discuss names of potential candidates from the two seats. Cabinet expansion would take place after byelections,” he said.

It is worth mentioning that two cabinet berths are lying vacant in Himachal. Anil Sharma had resigned from the post after his son contested Lok Sabha election on Congress ticket while Kishan Kapoor was elected to the Lower House of the Parliament.

The chief minister further said that the state government would implement the amended Motor Vehicle Act after reviewing some of the provisions.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2021