Thursday, 30 June, 2022
HomePoliticsHimachal Pradesh Elections 2017As polls near in Himachal, repeat warriors sharpen attack on each other

As polls near in Himachal, repeat warriors sharpen attack on each other

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31 out of 68 seats will see clashes between repeat candidates, some of whom have been fighting each other for decades.

For at least 60 candidates contesting assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh next month, campaigning comes with a distinct sense of déjà vu — in 31 of the total 68 seats, old rivals face each other again in what are expected to be pitched political contests.

A majority of them are locking horns for the second time, having contested against each other first in the 2012 election. However, some constituencies will witness interesting clashes between ‘repeat warriors’ who have been fighting each other for decades, knowing one another inside out by now, and the familiarity only adding to the sharpness of their attack.

The longest running electoral feud is in the Sullah seat in Kangra district, where 62-year-old Congress MLA Jagjiwan Paul is fighting Vipin Singh Parmar (54) of the BJP for the fifth time. They have been facing each other in every election since 1998, alternating victories. “The thing that has not changed about Parmar is his anger and arrogance. People dislike that and it works in my favour,” said Paul.

In another Kangra seat of Jawalamukhi, 54-year-old Sanjay Rattan of the Congress is fighting Ramesh Chand (66) of the BJP for the fourth time, having fought each other since 2003. Three-time MLA Chand lost to Rattan in the last election. “In 15 years, Ramesh Chand did not do a thing for this town, while I have brought about major development in just five years” said Rattan.

BJP’s Ramesh Chand will contest against Sanjay Rattan of Congress in Jawalamukhi

Asked what is it about Chand that has remained the same all these years, Rattan was quick to add, “The jokes he tells the youth while campaigning are the same for 20 years. He needs to change those too.”

At Jubbal Kotkhai in Shimla, Rohit Thakur (43) of the Congress is fighting BJP’s Narinder Bragta (65) for the fourth time. While Rohit has been MLA twice, Narinder was MLA in 2007. “I won the last election on the plank of development and this is my USP this time too,” said Thakur.

In Kinnaur, Congress MLA Jagat Singh Negi (62) will fight old foe Tejwant Singh Negi (57) of the BJP for the fourth time since the 2003 elections. “He won once because people were taken in by the fact that he kept touching everyone’s feet and hugging them. But what works is development and in that he failed,” said Jagat Negi.

BJP’s Rakesh Pathania will fight Conrgess’ Ajay Mahajan in Nurpur

In Nurpur of Kangra district, Congress’ Ajay Mahajan (59) will contest against two-time BJP MLA Rakesh Pathania (53). Pathania had won the seat as independent in 2007 but lost to Mahajan last time. “This is my third fight with Ajay. Earlier, I have fought his father Sat Mahajan too,” Pathania pointed out. “They (Congress) keep harping on old things not understanding the aspirations of the youth. I have won the election as an independent and I know the pulse of the people. If I win, I have promised that Nurpur will get district status.”

In Karsog, Congress MLA Mansa Ram (76) is fighting BJP’s Hira Lal (51) for the third time since 2007 when Hira Lal, contesting as an independent candidate, defeated Mansa Ram who was contesting on a BJP ticket. “If you listen to Mansa Ram-ji, you will realise that he is making the same promises as he did in 2012. This only proves that he did not do anything as an MLA,” said Hira Lal.

Congress minister Kaul Singh Thakur (72) will, for the third time, fight BJP’s Jawahar Thakur (63) who is yet to taste victory from Darang. Kaul Singh has represented Darang eight times since 1977. “Kaul Singh did not come to this constituency until four months ago when he started running around trying to show people that he cared for them. People have seen through him and this time we will win,” said Jawahar Thakur.

Six-time BJP MLA from Dharampur, Mahender Singh Thakur (66), is fighting Chander Shekhar (44) of the Congress for the third time. In the last election, Mahender Singh barely won the contest with only 1,000 votes to spare. “Apart from two schools which he set up, show me any other achievement of Thakur. Each time he asks for votes saying he will become deputy chief minister. It is the same this time. He should stop lying,” said Chander Shekhar.

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