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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Congress’ Mandi candidate Aashray Sharma banks on his grandfather’s legacy

Confident of winning, Congress’ Mandi Lok Sabha seat candidate Ashray Sharma is on a whirlwind tour across the parliamentary constituency, which comprises 17 assembly segments of Mandi, Kullu, Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, Chamba and Shimla districts.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 22, 2019 12:48 IST
Roop Upadhyay and Naresh K Thakur
Roop Upadhyay and Naresh K Thakur
Hindustan Times, Mandi / Dharamshala
lok sabha elections 2019,lok sabha elections in himachal,aashray sharma
Aashray Sharma is the Congress candidate from the Mandi Lok Sabha seat.(HT Photo )

Until the fag end of 2017, Aashray Sharma, grandson of former Union telecom minister Sukh Ram, was not-so-active state Congress secretary who would remain busy in managing the family-run hotel in the quaint hill town of Mandi.

The 32-year-old followed his father Anil Sharma, when the latter joined the BJP ahead of the state assembly elections in 2017.

It was at this point of time that he began to harbour a dream to make it big in politics.

As his father won the assembly election on BJP ticket from the family stronghold, Aashray embarked on a self-steering political campaign, projecting himself as candidate for the Lok Sabha election.

“It’s my grandfather’s wish to see me as an MP,” Aashray would often say.

Aashray and his grandfather Sukh Ram lobbied hard in Delhi for a BJP ticket. After being snubbed by the BJP, the grandfather-grandson duo knocked on the Congress door and met the party president Rahul Gandhi.

On March 25, they rejoined Congress and four days later the party nominated Aashray as its candidate from Mandi seat.

However, the political gamble came at a cost as Anil Sharma, who was power minister in the Jai Ram Thakur-led BJP government, had to quit.

Though Aashray faces sitting MP Ramswaroop Sharma, whom the saffron party has renominated, the election in the area-wise second largest Lok Sabha constituency is largely seen as a battle of prestige between Jai Ram and Sukh Ram.

A diploma holder in hospitality management, Aashray is largely banking on the legacy of his grandfather and anti-incumbency against Ramswaroop Sharma.

Confident of winning, Ashray is on a whirlwind tour across the parliamentary constituency, which comprises 17 assembly segments of Mandi, Kullu, Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, Chamba and Shimla districts. Aashray says he will follow footprints of his grandfather and father and try to fulfill their dreams of a developing Himachal Pradesh as a model hill state.

The Congress candidate says politics is in his blood and he will be in a better position to serve the society after becoming an MP.

“People will vote for the works my grandfather and father have done for Mandi. Then there is anti-incumbency against the sitting MP, who has failed to raise the voice of people of Mandi and faltered on his promises,” says Aashray.

First Published: Apr 22, 2019 12:48 IST

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