Though Pratibha Singh of Congress and Khushal Thakur of BJP are trying their best to woo the voters, the CM’s tag attached to Mandi and legacy of six time former Chief Minister and tallest Congress leader late Virbhadra Singh have become important factors in the Mandi parliament by-election.
Besides, all other issues being raised by BJP and Congress these two factors are being exploited to the hilt by the both parties.
The BJP candidate Brig. Khushal Thakur (retd.) being a debutant in the electoral politics is relying heavily on the mass appeal of Chief Minister Jai l Ram Thakur, who hails from Mandi district.
It is for the first time in the history of Himachal Pradesh any leader from Congress and BJP of Mandi district has become the Chief Minister of the state. Several aspirants from the district like Thakur Karam Singh, Pandit Sukh Ram and Kaul Singh could not succeed.
It is Jai Ram Thakur who was elected Chief Minister after BJP won majority in 2017 Assembly and its Chief Ministerial candidate PK Dhumal lost the Assembly election.
Chief Minister Jai Thakur has been making an emotional appeal to voters to vote for BJP candidate Khushal Thakur as CM’s tag attached to the district is a matter of pride for people.
On the other hand Congress candidate is heavily banking on the legacy of former CM and her late husband Virbhadra Singh, who passed away a few months back. Late Virbhadra Singh remained Himachal’s CM for six terms and represented Mandi parliament constituency three times and also remained a Minister in the Union government. The tallest leader of the Congress in Himachal Virbhadra Singh had vast mass appeal and is also known for carrying enormous development in the state.
Since the Congress candidate Ashrey Sharma grandson of Sukh Ram, another pillar of Congress in Himachal, had lost last parliament election by huge margin of over 4 lakh votes to BJP candidate late Ram Swaroop Sharma, whose sudden death has resulted into the by-election, the Congress leadership has banked on Pratibha Singh to exploit the name of Virbhadra Singh.
It is due to this reason her name in the nomination papers is written as Pratibha Virbhadra Singh. All Congress campaigners including Pratibha Singh are trying to capitalize the mass appeal and good work of Virbhadra Singh and the party is leaving no opportunity to draw sympathy among voters out of the death of Virbahdra Singh.
The CM tag and former CM’s legacy are definitely at test in the Mandi parliament by-election.