Shimla, Oct 29
Himachal Pradesh is one of the States in the Country where bye election for three Assembly Constituencies and One Parliamentary Assembly Constituency are being held for which mass campaigning has ended and polling will be held on 30 October ,2021. These elections are very significant for the State and also for the Centre as its outcome will have some bearing on the policies and programmes adopted by it in last two years particularly three farm laws and failure of the Central Govt and the State Government in controlling the rising prices. Of course, this can also be referendum for the State Government performance in last four years as countdown has already stated for States’s General Elections by the end of next calendar year.
From the reports gathered from various personal sources and also inputs from media reports especially English print media, one can make out that it is going very tough battle for BJP and Congress both main political parties and both of them burnt mid night old to save their face. Independents in two places are bound to spoil the chances of BJP for certain reasons and having failed to gauge the ground realities. There is also reason for it which is a separate story which can be discussed some other time as today the subject is bye election and its likely outcome.
Three Assembly Constituencies which are going for poll day after tomorrow are Jubbal Kotkhai, Fatehpur and Arki.
In Jubbal Kotkhai BJP seems out of contest and fight is between party’s rebellion, Chetan Bragta now fighting as an independent candidate Chetan Bragta is putting formidable challenge to the Congress Candidate, Rohit Thakur , who is a seasoned politician and also soft spoken and his performance earlier as MLA and CPS also remained very satisfactory. It seems that BJP had underestimated the clout of late Narendr Bragta, father of Chetan Bragta, who remained Horticulture Minister from 2008-2012 and later as MLA and Mukhy Sachetak from 2017 onwards. He made sincere efforts for strengthening the horticulture economy in the State in general and apple growing areas of Jubbal and Kotkhai besides undertaking various development works in his area. People appreciate this and also wanted to vote for Chetan , his son as a token of last respect to Narendr Bragta. After having been denied the ticket to Chetan Bragts inspite of having been introduced as party nominee soon after the death of Narender Bragta is also going in his favour as people particularly woman say him “Bachara” and people also say that it is fight of’ Swabhiman’ of the people of the area. In Kotkhai area Cheta Bragta is much ahead of his close competitor, Rohit Thakur and Jubbal and Nawar area which is traditionally citadel of Congress, he has made some in roads. Which way the wind will blow on 2nd November, only time will tell.
In Fatehpur also BJP nominee, Baldev Thakur is facing a tough challenge from the Congress nominee, Bhawani Singh as former Minister Rajan Sushant had also made good in roads as an Independent Candidates and his gains will be loss of the BJP. Here farmers issue and rising prices is also issue which will definitely spoil the chances of the BJP. Here competition is between BJP and Congress and fight is going tough day by day for both the party.
In Arki Assembly Constituency the contest is going very close day by day. Congress Nominee Awasthy who was much ahead few days back is a little bit behind BJP nominee Pal, it seems. Much will depend how people vote on polling day.
In Mandi Parliamentary Constituency, the seat has fallen vacant due to death of Ram Swaroop, MP. BJP has nominated Brigadier Khushal from here and Congress the wife of late Virbhadhra Singh, who also remained MP from this PC two times earlierHerer also the contest is going interesting day by day. Pratibha Singh is riding on the sympathy wave due to death of Virbhadhra Singh and also work done by her as MP earlier and also projects and work undertaken by the Virbhadhra Singh Government from time to time earlier. Pratibha Singh is likely to get impressive lead in Rampur, Ani, Bharmaour, Kinnaur and Lahaul Spiti Assembly Constituencies in nine Assembly Constituencies of Mandi district, home district of the CM and also in three ACs of Kullu district. Reports are also pouring in that Pratibha Singh will also good votes in sme of the ACs of Mandi and Kullu districts.
The voting on 30 Ocober, 2021 will also give more inputs, let us wait.
BD Sharma is former Director of Himachal Pradesh Public Relation Department. Views expressed are personal.