The Dharamshala bye-poll scheduled to be held on 21st October is witnessing a triangular contest between the ruling BJP, Congress and an Independent candidate. This bye poll is marred by caste and community factor. Congress took the lead in declaring its party candidate and in the same tune BJP also fielded a young Gaddi candidate ignoring the rest of community ticket seekers. The major political parties fielded Gaddi community candidates sidelining other communities. Seeing this the powerful OBC community which has a major share of votes (more than 43%) around thirty six thousand votes out of the total eighty one thousand votes fielded a local independent candidate Rakesh Chaudhary.
The ruling BJP has fielded a young candidate Vishal Nehria who is the choice of the State BJP chief and State organizing secretary Sat Pal Satti and Pawan Rana. Vishal Nehria is considered from the ABVP cadre and as labeled by the party workers as an outsider with his roots in the neighboring constituency Shahpur . On the other hand Congress has fielded Vijay Inder Karan a young face from the Gaddi Community as its official candidate. The congress candidate too is a new face and was given ticket only after congress leader and former cabinet minister Sudhir Sharma refused to contest on health grounds. The new candidate had no cadre to back up and is banking on the Congress leadership which is working door to door to establish victory for its candidate.
OBC community has taken this decision considering the fact that both the major political parties have ignored this community and had considered them as only a vote bank. Due to this factor a major jolt is for the ruling BJP in the OBC dominated belt where all the Panna Pramukhs and the Booth Palaks who were from the OBC community has extended their support to the Independent Rakesh Chaudhary. One of the booth Palak on the condition of anonymity told Himachal Scape that both the political parties never given top positions to the leaders of the OBC community and have restricted them to Panna Pramukh and Booth Palaks. The same can be said about the major opposition party of the state who also follows the same trend using the OBC community as a mere vote bank.
Both the political parties are facing an uphill task convincing the voters of the OBC community to vote for them. But till now the voters of the OBC community are determined to support the Independent candidate. Talking about the community factor even the Powerful Brahmin community, who has more than eight thousand votes in Dharamshala constituency have taken a decision to either press NOTA or vote in favour of independent candidate Rakesh Chaudhary. The Brahmin community in Kangra district is feeling neglected and ignored as the ruling BJP has not given a single ticket to the person of their community out of the fifteen Vidhan Sabha seats.
It’s not going to be a cake walk for the saffron candidate as well as he is considered an outsider and to top it that the cadre is annoyed with the working of the new candidate. Some senior leaders can be heard saying that the official candidate has made this election as a college election. A team of youngsters belonging to ABVP are spearheading his campaign .
But one thing is very clear that this bye-poll has become a triangular contest and the result might come as a shocker to both the political parties which will then have a last longing impact on the political scenario of Kangra district.