Dinesh Kanwar

Hamiprur, (QNB Research Desk)

After many brainstorming sessions, the Congress party has finally announced the candidature of Ram Lal Thakur for Hamirpur Parliament constituency. Ram Lal Thakur would face sitting BJP MP Anurag Thakur, who had won three consecutive elections in 2008,2009 ,2014  and is in the fray for the fourth time.

A senior Congress leader and five time MLA; Ram Lal Thakur had been Congress candidate from Hamirpur parliament constituency during 1999, 2004 and 2007 elections but could not register a win. He had lost in 2004 with a slander margin of 1615 votes.

The Congress Party, in last two elections tried to regain Hamirpur seat by fielding BJP deserters as its candidates – Narender Thakur in 2009 and Rajinder Rana in 2014. This had created a discord among many Congress leaders and party workers; feeling ignored they became indifferent or worked without zeal.

The constituency is being represented by BJP MPs since 1989 barring one election of 1996.  The present MP Anurag Singh Thakur won first parliament bye-election in 2008 as the seat went vacant following his father Prem Kumar Dhumal sworn in as Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. This election was a cakewalk for him as his father was CM of the state and was most popular BJP leader too. Even in 2009 general election to 15th Loksabha was an easy going for Anurag Thakur as he had almost no time to prove his position as MP and his father was still ruling the roost in the state. The leadership in congress organization was not too comfortable with the candidature of Narender Thakur who had deserted BJP and was given ticket at the behest of former CM Virbhadra Singh. The rift in congress also played a role in the defeat of Congress candidate.

The 2014 general elections in India witnessed Modi wave. This time too congress relied on another BJP deserter and then sitting independent MLA from Sujanpur Rajinder Rana was fielded against Anurag.  Rana was defeated in the election by over 98403 votes and also had to lose his assembly seat. A bye-election in  Sujanpur assembly seat was held simultaneously and Narender Thakur won the seat as BJP candidate defeating Rana’s wife fielded by Congress.

Presently, in 2019 general elections, the scenario would be entirely different for both the candidates. On one hand Anurag Thakur would count on his achievements of last ten years and works done by him. He would also be tested for his promises made during the last elections and his popularity.

On the other hand Ram Lal Thakur, five times MLA from Shri Naina Devi (Kot Kehloor) constituency would be put to test in do or die battle this time. The constituency is quite familiar to him. But stigma of being defeated thrice would haunt him too. The reprieve for him this time is that the rank and file of Congress is strongly backing him.  A few factors may favourably work for Ram Lal Thakur; the current of Modi wave that was too strong in 2014 looks to have subsided to some extent this time. There are many moral boosters for the Congress as Prem Kumar Dhumal was defeated by Congress candidate Rajender Rana in Sujanpur Assembly constituency. Many Dhumal supporters like Sat Pal Singh ‘Satti’, Randhir Sharma, Ravinder Ravi and Baldev Sharma from their respective Assembly segments falling under Hamirpur parliamentary constituency were also defeated in the last Assembly election in 2017 at the hands of Congress candidates.  

Stakes are very high for Dhumal and Anurag after defeat of Dhumal in the last Assembly election, who would be under tremendous pressure to register a win in changed situation to prove their grip on voters in Hamirpur parliament constituency.

(Courtesy: Hill Quest)

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