In a poll where every seat counts for both NDA (BJP) and UPA (Congress), the parties don’t want to leave any stone unturned, which could garner some votes from beneath. At the hill state, where BJP before the announcement of election was looking like a cohesive unit, has now evidently developed a few cracks, which perhaps have widened after announcement of candidature.
Suresh Chandel former Member of Parliament from Hamirpur constituency reportedly has expressed his willingness to contest from Congress ticket in case offered. Chandel has been three times Member of Parliament from the seat. He remained MP in 1998, 1999 and 2003. Caught in a sting operation was charged U/S 12 & 13 (I)(d) of Prevention & Corruption Act read with Section 120B of IPC . Chandel lost on his reputation and therefore got replaced with Anurag Thakur who won the constituency twice in 2009 and 2014.
Talking of political stints Suresh Chandel is the only incumbent to have won Hamirpur Constituency three times in a row since 1984. Anurag would be second to him , in case wins the 2019 polls. Besides Narain Chand Parasher (1984 polls) Chandel has achieved the second highest vote share. Where latter earned a vote share of 62.98% in 1984 polls Chandel managed vote share of 60.52% in 1999 elections.
Sources hint that taking his past political credentials Congress could weigh his case. Now the opposition BJP cannot allege corruption charges on him because they made him candidate from Bilaspur seat in 2012 Vidhan Sabha polls, they state. Adding that his origin from Bilaspur can counter the impact of party senior leader and Union minister JP Nadda in the area. Moreover when in Congress two of top state leaders are apprehending from contesting, his chances get raised, feel in party sources.
Since 1989 Congress has never won this seat. Yet evidently their average vote share difference versus opposition has been around 11.20% (1984 till 2014). Wherein since 1984 to 2014 average votes polled to BJP have been 2 .86lac, Congress has got 2.56lac. Besides one occasion in 1999 when Suresh Chandel was contesting seat, the BJP never managed more than 15% vote difference. Only Chandel won with a whopping 23.27% vote share difference. It was also the highest vote difference margin for any BJP candidate on this seat in all times.
Media reports Suresh Chandel has clearly displayed his willingness to contest on a Congress ticket and BJP teams have started pacifying him too. Though the result is yet to be seen, indicators reveal that Congress could gain some quarters with Chandel by their side.