Himachal Diary: Eyes on Theog

Seven-time MLA Vidya Stokes (89) lost every attempt to be the chief ministerial face. And at last, she could only become a senior most minister under Virbhadra Singh—whom she had been fighting for leadership

By: Express News Service | Shimla | Published: October 16, 2017 3:18 am
Himachal Diary, Himachal Pradesh, Theog, Vidya Stokes, Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh, Punjab News, Latest Punjab News, Indian Express, Indian Express News Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh (File)

Eyes on Theog

For years, election after election, voters of Theog wished that their MLA, Vidya Stokes, will get a chance to occupy chief minister’s post. However, seven-time MLA Vidya Stokes (89) lost every attempt to be the chief ministerial face. And at last, she could only become a senior most minister under Virbhadra Singh—whom she had been fighting for leadership. At the end of the day, she buried the hatchet with Virbhadra and gave-up efforts for leadership. As destiny would have it , she now also sacrificed the seat for Virbhadra, who will be contesting from Theog as madam takes retirement from electoral battle. Theog, finally has got a ‘ready-made’ chief minister, to be considered as a privileged constituency. Now, it’s needs to be seen whether Virbhadra (83) comes back as the chief minister for a seventh-time or Theog reconciles to its natural status — an octogenarian’s constituency.

In the name of the son

Now, when Virbhadra Singh has cemented a ticket for his son Vikramaditya Singh, youth Congress president, why should others not lobby for their kins. But everyone is not privileged like him. A senior Congress politician, two days back, went knocking at ‘Raja Sahib’s’ door and sat with him sipping tea in the lawns of ‘Holly Lodge’, though he was not a ‘welcomed’ guest. Infact, CM sahib reminded him of not conceding some of his ‘unofficial’ requests made in the selections done under him recently. Thus, he doesn’t see hope to favour him, family or kin, outrightly. The senior politician returned without? ?a getting a word of assurance even as the Congress is ready to waive of ‘one family, one ticket’ formula for Holly Lodge. Will others get a chance for their kin too?

One wicket down

Rahul Gandhi’s arrival at Mandi was marked as the beginning of Congress’s campaign, ‘Jawab Dega Himachal’, targetting the BJP. Less than a week, after this, cabinet minister and MLA Anil Sharma, struck the chord with BJP. According to the the Sangh Pariwar, ‘the first wicket has fallen’ and now Congress can only count its numbers. “Welcome to @BJP4India, Sh Anil Sharma Ji, best wishes 2yu fr taking a stand against corruption & joining @narendramodi jis vision fr #NewIndia?”Anurag Thakur twitter minutes after Sharma posed for a photo with local BJP district committee wearing a saffron scarf. Decks are now cleared for Bollywood star Salman Khan to campaign for the BJP as Sharma’s son Aayush is married to the star’s sister Arpita. But the fact remains that local BJP unit is left sulking over Anil Sharma’s entry and poll ticket.

Jodi broken

The 1994-batch officer Anuradha Thakur has finally been relieved. The officer once found herself caught-up in a tight spot when she got her deputation to the centre. She packed off everything even vacated her house. But the Chief Minister was not willing to relieve her in a bid to get last minutes poll sops made before announcement of the polls. The officer, then had get herself lodged at another fellow officer’s house for few more days. But by the time she was relieved from the government, Minister Vidya Stokes, too, had relinquished her constituency –Theog for Virbhadra. Parting of with two women or to say ‘minister-secretary jodi’ maybe sheer coincidence.

Booster dose

It’s not sure if Congress’s impressive victory in Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll will have an impact on Himachal Pradesh polls. But the Congress is certainly feeling relegated,especially by the margin. One person who is certainly feeling at top of the world is AICC incharge for Punjab, Asha Kumari, a sitting Dalhousie MLA. Throughout the counting, she kept sending minute to minute updates on Sunil Jakhar’s lead margin to Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi to which he also reciprocated. After the victory, he wrote back, “Thrilled ,Congratulations !”. So, she may be doing “balle balle” in Punjab, but back home, the Congress leadership have neither included her in the election nor in the campaign committee.

Popshots

Sunday was really a happening day for social media users in Himachal Pradesh. Political popshots being circulated on cabinet minister GS Bali on joining the BJP, kept all the ‘vella’ (idle) people and political watchers busy whole day. Some social media groups and web-portals flashed breaking news with Bali’s photos. Names of two other Congress MLAs – Rakesh Kalia and Rajesh Dharmani, who is also the chief parliamentary secretary, were in circulation. This also kept the media busy to cross-checking the authenticity. While Bali was with his daughter—a doctor in Delhi, Dharmani and Kalia were in their constituencies.The only confirmation of course was about Anil Sharma while the rest were junk. Yet, it did keep the political baazar hot during poll time.

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