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Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections: BJP’s Paramjeet Singh Pammi defeats former party colleague in Congress bastion

Anti-incumbency against the Congress and support of the Gujjar community for Pammi are said to be the main reasons behind the BJP victory.

Written by Saurabh Prashar | Nalagarh |
Updated: December 19, 2017 11:13:18 am
BJP candidate Paramjeet Singh Pammi celebrates his victory with supporters in Nalagarh on Monday; (left) the BJP victory procession. Express Photo by Jaipal Singh

Ram Kumar Chaudhary of the Congress lost to Paramjeet Singh Pammi of the BJP from Doon by 4,319 votes in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly election. Pammi, a former Congress worker who joined the BJP in December 2016 a month after being denied ticket, secured 29,701 votes against Chaudhary’s 25,832. Independent candidate, Inder Singh Thakur, lost his deposit. None of the Above (NOTA) registered 345 votes.

Anti-incumbency against the Congress and support of the Gujjar community for Pammi are said to be the main reasons behind the BJP victory. The Doon constituency is spread over 34-gram panchayats, comprising more than 700 villages, and one municipal council, Baddi, which falls in Solan district.

A senior Congress worker, present at the Government College Nalagarh, the counting centre, said, “Clearly, there was anti-incumbency against Chaudhary. Though Chaudhary won the election for the first time in 2012, his father, Lajja Ram, had been the MLA of the same constituency four times. In 2012, Pammi had contested the election independently and secured 10,600 votes. If we talk about the caste factor, Pammi, who belongs to the Gujjar community, got the advantage of 8,000 votes, belonging to the Gujjar community.”

Lajja Ram was the Doon MLA from 1990 to 2007. Though in 2007, BJP candidate Vinod Kumari had registered her win from this constituency, Chaudhary won the election on a Congress ticket in 2012. Counting began at 8 am and in the first five rounds, Chaudhary was leading and Pammi registered his first lead with 80 votes in the sixth round, which rose to 1,500 in the seventh round.

Surinder Singh, a member of the BJP district unit, said, “We were sure about Pammi’s win as per his performance being an Independent candidate in the 2012 Assembly election. Though Chaudhary is said to have completed all development works worth Rs 3 crore in the constituency, Pammi got the credit as the former was not present in the constituency for nearly one-and-a-half years since January 2013.”

Chaudhary was also arrested in connection with the murder of Jyoti Devi of Hoshiarpur in Panchkula in January 2013 and got acquitted in September 2014.

During the campaign in November, Chaudhary had shown a development report card of various projects worth Rs 12.88 crore being spent by him in the constituency and Pammi had taken up the issues of mining mafia, toll tax on trucks and the family domination of Chaudhary on a number of business projects in the area.

Your reaction on this win?

This is the mandate of the people of Doon constituency. People were fed up with the Chaudhary family. All the trades, including truck unions, excise business and government contracts of this constituency, were captured by the relatives and family members of Chaudhary.

You joined the BJP when you were denied ticket by the Congress. Your reaction?

This is politics. There is no permanent friend and no permanent foe. I worked for the Congress with full honesty. BJP recognised my capabilities and gave me the ticket.

Your agenda for the people of Doon constituency?

Development of this area will be my first priority. I want to take development to each and every person of this area. The villages of my constituency were the most neglected. I got huge support from the people of Baddi also. Industrialists have huge hopes from me.

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