Son versus son
In the politics of dynasty,the sons of the two main rivals in the Himachal Pradesh elections are engaged in a little face-off of their own. On one side is Vikaramaditya Singh,23,son of PCC president Virbhadra Singh. Though Vikramaditya is not in the election fray,he has taken it on himself to look after Shimla (Rural),a constituency he apparently views as his future home turf. On the other side are Anurag Thakur and Arun Dhumal,sons of Virbhadras rival Prem Kumar Dhumal. Anurag is already an MP while brother Arun is handling his fathers campaign in Hamirpur.
The youth brigade
Virbhadra Singh and Vidya Stokes,who will lead the Congress charge,are 78 and 84 respectively but the troupe they will be leading includes a number of young faces. The Congress has fielded 22 first-timers in the polls,many of them engineering,law and management graduates. Most of them are also sons and daughters of senior politicians,some surviving and some deceased. They are being fielded in addition of a half a dozen sitting legislators of age 40 or under,including Neeraj Bharti,33,Subhash Manglet,39,Sudhir Sharma,39,and Rajesh Dharmani,40. Some of the newcomers have been handpicked by Rahul Gandhi though he left some others disappointed,including Vinod Sultanpuri,son of K D Sultanpuri.
Major (retd) Vijai Singh Mankotia is now in the Congress,not for the first time. The former Army officer has over the years joined the Congress,left it or got expelled,and then rejoined. Besides being in the Janata Dal under V P Singh and the BSP under Mayawati,Mankotia has also launched a fight against corruption under the banner of his non-political organisation,campaigned against a politician-bureaucrat-corporate nexus,released an audio CD against Virbhadra Singh when he was chief minister,and written to the Prime Minister to sack Virbhadra for corruption charges after he had been made a Union Minister in 2009. Havig seemingly retired from politics in 2009,he is now a candidate in the Congress under Virbhadra.