Come election time and for Sukh Ram’s Himachal Vikas Congress no party is untouchable. It’s reportedly talking to both the Congress and the bjp. Congress CM Virbhadra Singh is keen to get Sukh Ram’s support for his wife Pratibha’s candidature from the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, which is Sukh Ram’s bastion. But this week Sukh Ram’s son and Rajya Sabha member Anil Sharma declared that alliances notwithstanding, Sukh Ram will contest from Mandi himself. Most dismiss this as a ‘bargaining tactic’, but the Congress is taking no chances and has forwarded the candidacies of both Pratibha and Kaul Singh Thakur, a member of the HP council of ministers, from Mandi.