BJP shortlists Kargil hero for Mandi seat
Banking on the rhetoric of nationalism by its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has shortlisted the name of a Kargil war hero.punjab Updated: Feb 09, 2014 22:38 IST
Banking on the rhetoric of nationalism by its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has shortlisted the name of a Kargil war hero.
The state election committee of the BJP recently met in Hamirpur to ponder over candidates for the upcoming polls, and zeroed in on names for Hamirpur, Kangra and Shimla parliamentary segments.
From Kangra, former chief minister Shanta Kumar is the party's most formidable bet, while, in spite of the controversies surrounding the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA), headed by former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal's elder son Anurag Thakur, the party has decided to re-nominate him for the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat.
Two-time parliamentarian Anurag is facing inquiries ordered against HPCA over a chunk of land bought by him and his brother Arun in Dharamsala.
A Congress chargesheet had alleged that Dhumal had given undue benefits to promote HPCA. On assuming power, the Congress ordered a probe into the functioning of HPCA, which had converted itself into a company from a sports society without informing the government.
Thakur, who is also the national chief of the party's youth wing, had won Lok Sabha elections in 2007 and 2009.
The party is again banking on sitting Shimla parliamentarian Virender Kashyap.
The party's state election committee deliberated on five names for the Mandi seat, including Manali legislator Govind Thakur, former rural development minister Jairam Thakur, party vice-president Ramswaroop Sharma, party spokesperson Ajay Rana and Brigadier Kushal Singh Thakur.
Since Jairam Thakur is reportedly reluctant to contest the Lok Sabha elections, the party is counting on Brigadier Kushal Thakur.
Brigadier Kushal Thakur
The Brigadier led the 18th Grenadiers during the Kargil conflict in 1999, and served in the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Sri Lanka.
The 18 Genadiers were decorated with 52 gallantry awards for the valour that the soldiers exhibited in ousting the Pakistani Army-backed infiltrators from the strategic Tololing and Tiger Hill in Kargil.
JP Dutta's multi-starrer film 'LOC Kargil', based on the Kargil conflict, had highlighted the exemplary courage shown by Thakur. Noted actor Raj Babbar had played Kushal in the film.
Hailing from Nagwain of Mandi district, Thakur now heads the state chapter of the Indian ex-servicemen movement.
Thakur has been touring the state, raising issues concerning the ex-servicemen. He has been advocating for the implementation of the 'one rank, one person' scheme, and has sought increase in pension for both widows and war widows.
“It is ironical that armymen are not taken into the loop while taking decisions at the top level. The ex-servicemen welfare board is still not headed by any retired or serving Army officer,” the Brigadier told Hindustan Times.
Since soldiers, serving and retired, form a major chunk of the electorate, major political parties Congress and the BJP have been trying to woo them.
The party is likely to announce its final candidates by next month.