Flip-flop in deciding candidates creating heartburn in Cong camp

With flip-flop and the last minute changes in deciding candidates in Kangra district,a number of Congress leaders are getting heartburn.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Dharamsala | Published: October 16, 2012 6:52 am

With flip-flop and the last minute changes in deciding candidates in Kangra district,a number of Congress leaders are getting heartburn. The result: Separate camps are being created and special meetings being held by the aspirants who have been refused tickets.

Kangra district covers 15 Assembly constituencies,including the key constituencies like Dharamsala,Jwalamukhi,Shahpur,Nagrota and Baijnath.

At present,Congress leaders Sudhir Sharma and Manoj Kumar,who were in the race from Dharamsala,are holding separate camps in the constituency. With a large vote bank in Dharamsala comprising the Gaddi community and to cut into BJP’s vote,the party had initially planned to field Manoj Kumar against BJP’s Krishan Kapoor — both belonging to the Gaddi community. However,the decision was changed on Sunday.

Sharma,who had won from Baijnath in the last polls,was shifted after it became a reserved constituency. While Sharma was initially being fielded from Jwalamukhi,he was was finally declared the candidate from Dharamsala. Kumar’s prospects further diminished when the Congress declared Sanjay Rattan as its candidate from Jwalamukhi. Sharma and Rattan are close confidants of state Congress chief Virbhadra Singh.

Since Baijnath was declared a reserved constituency,Congress aspirant Udho Ram decided to leave the party and contest on a Himachal Lokhit Party ticket. Similarly,Zila Parishad member Tilak Raj and former Panchayat Samiti president Mast Ram have decided to contest as Independents. Both have already started holding separate meetings in the constituency. The Congress,on the other hand,had fielded Kishori Lal from Baijnath.

“Obviously some heart burn is there as far as Manoj is concerned,but I will definitely try to pacify him. Manoj is a prominent member and the party will definitely do something for him,” said Sharma. He added: “Issues like setting up of a central university in Dharamsala,solving the parking problem,constructing ropeways,upgrading medical facilities are our focus areas.”

Meanwhile,block president Nardev Kanwar is holding separate public meetings after Sanjay Rattan was declared the candidate from Jwalamukhi.

“The party high command has been given a deadline for October 17 to reconsider its decision,failing which the further course of action will be decided,” Kanwar told mediapersons.

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