Dharamsala, September 23
Several Kangra Congress leaders reportedly met with Himachal Party official Rajiv Shukla in New Delhi yesterday. They expressed their concerns to Shukla ahead of the selection committee meeting scheduled for September 27.
AICC Secretary Sudhir Sharma said today that Kangra party leaders met with Shukla and discussed issues related to the upcoming assembly elections. “The party is in a strong position and will form the government of Himachal,” he added.
The HPCC said that the 20 deputies and the three secretaries of the AICC will receive a ticket to fight against the elections. So far, candidates for just four seats in Kangra have been finalized – AICC secretaries Sudhir Sharma (Dharamsala) and RS Bali (Nagrota Bagwan) and MPs Ashish Butail (Palampur) and Bhawani Pathania (Fatehpur). For all other seats, lists of candidates were sent to the central party leadership.
This uncertainty over the ticket has made many of Kangra’s senior congressional leaders reluctant. The party has yet to declare the candidate for the seat of Nurpur, which District Congress Chairman Ajay Mahajan has represented in the past. HPCC General Secretary Kewal Singh Pathania (Shahpur), former MP Sanjay Rattan (Jwalamukhi), former MP Yadwinder Singh Goma (Jaisinghpur), former MP for Kangra Chander Kumar (Jawali) and Jagjivan Pal (Sullah ) are also upset because their names weren’t included. in the list of candidates at the first meeting of the pre-selection committee.
The sources say Congress has not announced candidates for some seats as it expects some BJP leaders, including former BJP minister Ravinder Ravi and former Nurpur bloc chairman Ranvir Nikka, change sides. If Ravinder Ravi joins Congress, he can challenge Sullah. He is already campaigning in the constituency.
If Ranvir Nikka joins the Congress, he can claim the Nurpur Assembly constituency ticket. Late former Minister Sat Mahajan had represented Nurpur in the Assembly. His son Ajay Mahajan had served as MP for Nurpur from 2012 to 2017. The Mahajan family had represented Nurpur in the Assembly on the Congress ticket for the past three decades and it would not be easy for the party to ignore their claim and to give a ticket to Nika.
Kangra MLA Pawan Kajal has previously joined the BJP. Congress is now considering the names of former MPP Surinder Kaku and some other OBC leaders from Kangra headquarters.
Former deputy in the race
- In Jwalamukhi, Nardev Kanwar, former head of the organizational district of Dehra, claimed his ticket request
- He is a loyalist of top Congress leader Sukhwinder Sukhu
- Besides Kanwar, former MPP Sanjay Rattan has requested a constituency ticket
- Rattan was a loyalist to ex-CM Virbhadra Singh and enjoys the support of HPCC Chairman Pratibha Singh
Mankotia versus Pathania
- In Shahpur, Congress considers the names of former Minister Vijai Singh Mankotia and HPCC General Secretary Kewal Pathania
- Pathania had unsuccessfully fought the last two Assembly elections on the Shahpur Congress ticket
- Mankotia contested the 2012 and 2017 elections as an independent candidate, leading to the defeat of Pathania