Monday, May 23, 2022

Himachal Pradesh: Congress Sweeps Bypolls, Pratibha Singh Wins Mandi In Blow to BJP Ahead Of Elections

Pratibha Singh has made a comeback by winning the Parliamentary seat in Mandi after her husband and former C Virbhadra Singh’s demise.

Himachal Pradesh: Congress Sweeps Bypolls, Pratibha Singh Wins Mandi In Blow to BJP Ahead Of Elections
Pratibha Singh takes Virbhadra's legacy forward at Mandi with impressive bypoll win PTI/File Photo

In a huge blow to the ruling BJP in Himachal Pradesh ahead of the next year’s crucial assembly polls, Congress swept Himachal Pradesh bypolls in three assemblies and one Parliamentary constituency.

Bypolls across four assembly constituencies and one Parliamentary seat in the state were held on October 30, the results of which were declared on Tuesday. 

The Congress, which has been fighting a losing battle in the rest of the states, managed to upset the BJP's "apple cart" with an impressive win in Mandi – the home district of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, where its candidate Pratibha Singh, wife of Congress stalwart Virbhadra Singh, beat the BJP, within four months of his demise.

She has won the seat by a margin of 8,766 votes, defeating Kargil war veteran brigadier (Rtd) Khushal Thakur. 

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur was quick to accept the party’s defeat in the bypoll.

Meanwhile, in Jubbal-Kotkhai, the state’s prime apple belt, Congress candidate Rohit Thakur won by a margin of 6,103 votes, defeating his nearest rival –former BJP leader Chetan Bragta. The BJP finished a poor third, polling just 2,584 votes.

Bragta, son of former horticulture minister Narinder Bragta was denied a ticket by the BJP at the last moment, leading to Chetan contesting as a "rebel" candidate.

Arki—a seat which had fallen vacant upon the demise of six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, was retained by Sanjay Awasthi of the Congress who earlier had lost the election in 2012 but was denied a ticket in 2017 as Virbhadra Singh had chosen to contest from here. He has won the seat by 3,126 votes

The third assembly constituency which witnessed the bypoll was Fatehpur and here too, the results went in favour of Congress. Bhawani Singh, son of veteran Congress leader Sujan Singh Pathania, whose death had created the vacancy won the seat with 5,789 votes .

Virbhadra Singh’s son Vikramaditya Singh, who is also sitting MLA, said the Congress has won the bypoll by making soaring prices of essential commodities, LPG and petrol as well as rising unemployment into their poll planks against the government. The 'lacklustre' governance of the state under Jairam Thakur, also worked in the party’s favour, he said.

Above all, the people of the districts also voted to pay their gratitude to Virbhadra Singh, who had an inimitable connect with the masses