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Elections

Strategic Move: BJP Fields Former Congressman in Himachal Rajya Sabha Elections amidst Cross-Voting Hopes

ARVIND SHARMA | February 15, 2024 08:40 PM

DHARAMSALA: In a fascinating twist to the political narrative in Himachal Pradesh, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has intensified the upcoming Rajya Sabha election by nominating a former Congress stalwart as its candidate. This strategic maneuver comes as the state prepares for the Rajya Sabha seat election slated for the end of the month, with today marking the close of the nomination period.

The Congress party has put forward senior Supreme Court advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who officially filed his nomination papers in Shimla. Despite being outnumbered in terms of MLA support in the state assembly, the BJP has boldly entered the contest. This decision comes in the wake of the previous BJP MP and the party's national president, JP Nadda, opting to contest from Gujarat due to the anticipated challenging odds in Himachal.

Harsh Mahajan, a recent convert from the Congress to the BJP, has been chosen as the opposition's candidate, signaling a potential shake-up in the traditional voting lines. The nomination filing was witnessed by all BJP MLAs, including the former Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur.

Thakur expressed optimism about the election, suggesting that MLAs discontented with the current Congress government might lean towards Mahajan, their former colleague. He highlighted the peculiar scenario where the Congress government's imposition of a contentious water tax led to legal challenges, with the lawyer representing the opposing side in court now being fielded as a Congress candidate for the Rajya Sabha.

Meanwhile, Singhvi's nomination was bolstered by the presence of notable Congress figures, including Chief Minister Thakur Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, Himachal Pradesh Congress Party In-charge Rajiv Shukla, Assembly Speaker Kuldeep Singh Pathania, and Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee President Pratibha Singh, alongside three independent MLAs.

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