He is among the new faces fielded by the Congress in the November 4 Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh. All of 48 years,Sunder Singh Thakur was a frontrunner for the ticket from Kullu seat for his unique initiative in the tourist hotspot – a multiplex which screens latest Bollywood and Hollywood flicks. Thakurs Shobla Hotel in Dholpur area of Kullu was refurbished few years back to construct a multiplex atop the restaurant,a first in this part of the hill state.
Only three among first-timers are Youth Congress candidates but only one has no political legacy to his credit. Anirudh Singh,35,bagged ticket from Kusumpti seat in Shimla being eyed by none other than the erstwhile royal family of Himachal Congress president Virbhadra Singh,after being de-reserved. An agriculturalist owning vegetable farms in Shimla,he rose from the ranks of the Youth Congress. My name was recommended by the block committee, he says.
If elected,his agenda includes setting up small collection centres for vegetables. It will help farmers form a modern supply chain for retailing within Shimla and supplying to Chandigarh. More job opportunities can also be created in tourism sector, he says.
The other two Youth Congress candidates are reaping the political legacy of their fathers,including youngest in the list of political greenhorns,26-year-old Yadvinder Goma. Son of former MLA Milkhi Ram Goma,he is contesting from the reserved seat of Jaisinghpur in Kangra district and sports a BTech degree. Kasuali candidate Vinod Sultanpuri,who holds a LLB degeree,is son of former MP,KD Sultanpuri.
The list includes those from the uniformed brigade too. Brigadier Rajinder Rana,58,is Congress contender from Dehra in Kangra. His last posting was at the Army Training Camp in Shimla. Politics is an unique experience. In uniform,you have limitations but in politics you can dedicate yourself to serving people, says Brigadier Rana. And unlike,others,he says it was not difficult for him to prove himself to be a worthwhile candidate.
As far as professions go,Sunder Singh is not the only hotelier in Congress list. There are others with fancy official addresses ranging from hotels,estates,palaces to a humble Majdoor Kutia. Karan Singh,55-year-old candidate from Banjar constituency in Kullu,owns Rupi Palace while former union minister Sukh Rams son,Anil Sharma,a sitting MLA,owns Mayfair Hotel at Mandi. The hotel has recently being rechristened as Regent Farms.
Among the old-timers are also those owning estates. The official address of Congress veteran Vidya Stokes is Bohemia Estates in Shimla while Palampur candidate BB Butail owns Bandla tea estate. Then there are those living in palaces. Shahpur candidate Vijay Mankotias official address is Om Mehal and Banger candidates Karan Singh has Rupi Palace in Kullu.