FACED WITH rebellion at Shimla and at least six other assembly constituencies , the HPCC Saturday expelled seven persons – two former ministers and two incumbent vice-chairmen of boards and corporations, apart from three others – who have decided to contest against party candidates. Those expelled from the party are Harsh Janartha, who is contesting against Shimla candidate Harbhajan Singh Bhajji, Major (Rtd) Vijai Singh Mankotia, an Independent candidate from Shahpur, where the party has given ticket to Kawal Singh Pathania.
Former minister and five-time MLA from Rampur Singhi Ram, who was denied ticket, will take on MLA and Chief Parliamentary secretary Nand Lal in Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s home town Rampur-Bushahr. Hardeep Baba, another loyalist of the CM, has also been expelled for six years from the party for contesting against congress nominee at Nalagarh. He had lobbied hard for the ticket but lost out to Lakhwinder Rana.
Others include Puran Chand, who is taking on State Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur at Drang in Mandi. Beni Prasad, a Congress rebel at Palampur, where the Congress has fielded Ashish Butail, son of Speaker B B L Butail. Another Congress rebel at Lahaul-Spiti was also expelled from the party.
HPCC president Sukhwinder Sukhu, who is also contesting the Poll at Nadaun in Hamirpur, admitted that the party had made serious efforts to placate the leaders and asked them to withdraw from the poll fight. As they refused to budge, action was taken, he added.