Giant killer: How Rajinder Rana overcame Dhumal’s might
Rana fell out with his mentor and contested the 2012 assembly election as an independent from the Sujanpur segment, registering a victory by a margin of over 14,000 votes.india Updated: Dec 21, 2017 08:59 IST
This assembly election has sprung many surprises. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won even as its general fell, many of the Congress bigwigs too had to bite the bullet.
The biggest shocker was the Sujanpur assembly segment result wherein BJP chief ministerial face Prem Kumar Dhumal’s one-time protégé Rajinder Rana (51) turned the tables on his mentor.
The question as what made the realtor-turned-politician Rana take on the might of the tallest BJP leader and why people preferred him over a probable chief minister has left many scurrying for a possible explanation.
Lekh Raj Rana, a close confidant and poll manager of Rajinder Rana, said Rana has worked tirelessly for the people of Sujanpur for more than 15 years. His philanthropic works — sponsoring marriages of girls from lower socio-economic background, scholarships worth lakhs of rupees to meritorious poor students and countless medical camps — has earned him a reputation of a good Samaritan.
“This was a battle between a big name and a ground-level worker and the people of Sujanpur chose the latter," Rana himself said after he emerged winner on Monday.
“Rana likes to remain among his people. The most important thing in politics is connect with the public and Rana has maintained that connect for 15 years,” Lekh Raj said. And the most important thing, he said, is that since Rana has come from the BJP, he knows the party’s strategies besides its leaders’ strengths and weaknesses.
“That is why he was able to counter the BJP’s high-tech campaign,” said Lekh Raj, himself a one-time saffron party worker.
Besides, he never let his differences with mentor Dhumal grew into bitterness and remained humble throughout the election and never campaigned negatively, he added.
It was Dhumal who brought Rana into politics around a decade ago and was appointed the chairman of the media advisory board after Dhumal formed government in 2007 but had to quit after his name cropped up in a sex scandal in 2009. Rana fell out with his mentor and contested the 2012 assembly election as an independent from the Sujanpur segment, registering a victory by a margin of over 14,000 votes.
He went on join the Congress and resigned from the state assembly to contest the Lok Sabha election as a Congress nominee against Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur while his wife contested the by-election from Sujanpur.
The move failed but Rana got the post of vice-chairman of the state pollution control board in the Virbhadra Singh government.