Manali, Nov 7
The world-famous tourist destination Manali is foreseeing a direct contest in the ongoing Vidhan Sabha polls. Govind Thakur, who has been retaining this seat consecutively three times for BJP and remained education minister in the present Government, seems to be locked in tough competition with the Congress candidate Bhuvneshwar Gaur this time.
Not only is Govind Thakur facing anti-incumbency for being consecutively elected thrice but also because Congress is posing a united face in the Constituency. In past contests, that in 2012, Gaur had to face opposition from own party members. The Congress, despite having a formidable vote bank in Manali, could not win the seat because party rebel Dharmvir Dhami posed a threat.
Moreover, Bhuvneshwar Gaur has the advantage of inheriting a political legacy from former Senior Congress Stalwart Raj Krishna Gaur, who remained cabinet minister in several Congress governments. RK Gaur had earned a rare reputation in public life for having impeccable public integrity as a highly honest person. He had been praised across the state for selling pieces of land to contest elections.
Bhuvneswar Gaur, in the fray a second time, lost the 2012 assembly elections as was defeated by a BJP candidate by 3198 votes. He didn’t get a ticket in 2017.
A hospitality unit Hotel Chadertal owner informed us that Gaur might earn public sympathy this time, as he is a good man and people want to give him a chance.
Meanwhile, sitting MLA Govind Thakur, son of Veteran BJP leader and Minister Kunj Lal Thakur, is again in the fray for the fourth time as a BJP candidate. Thakur was Minister of forest and Transport and later was given Education. Opposition leaders blamed Thakur for misusing a government vehicle for personal use. After the recovery of cash reportedly belonging to the Minister’s spouse in an HRTC vehicle, an FIR was registered in near Chandigarh. Whereafter the Jai Ram Thakur Government snatched the Transport ministry from him. Also, as in charge of the Education Department, he mainly remained ineffective as no foresighted and path-breaking decision was taken during his tenure.
The people of Manali are well off, having the highest per capita income owning to highest football of tourists around the year. Manali being a world-famous destination has always remained in the limelight, but after the Commissioning of the Rohtang Tunnel and the construction of Fourlane, this Constituency got the National spotlight.
A woman voter said that Gaur was a kind-hearted person, but he should not avoid his constituents vis-a-vis outsiders.
There are eight candidates in the fray, including the Aam Aadmi Party. Manali has 74903 voters, including 37458 males and 37232 females and 213 service voters.