ON MONDAY, the last day for filing nomination papers for the Assembly polls, former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal filed his nomination papers from Sujanpur Vidhan Sabha constituency in Hamirpur.
Dhumal is contesting from Sujanpur for the first time in a political career spanning over three decades. The BJP organised a show of strength across a nearly 45-km stretch which covered Dhumal’s native village, Samirpur, to his new constituency where he addressed a rally at Sujanpur Chaugaan (Open Ground) before filing his nomination after 2 pm before the sub-divisional magistrate (SMD), Sujanpur. He was joined by Rakesh Thakur, chairman, Sujanpur Zila Parishad, Varinder Thakur, state BJP executive member, another local leader Seema Devi, and Dhumal’s advocate, Anil Jaswal.
Earlier he started his day at 8:30 am by visiting ‘Kul Devi’ (family deity) temple in Awa Devi area, then he passed through ‘Toni Devi’, National Information Technology (NIT) Hamirpur, and half a dozen other places on the way to Sujanpur where he landed around noon.
Hundreds of BJP supporters, including women, reached the rally spot and youths on motorcycles joined his cavalcade at several places on the way.
Led by dozen of motorcyclists carrying BJP flags in their hands, Dhumal reached rally spot an hour lat at around 12:00 noon. Several rounds of crackers were burst amid loud slogans for several minutes, demanding that he be announced as the BJP’s chief ministerial candidate.
While addressing a rally, Dhumal said, “The Centre has given us special Industrial package, a long-pending railway line but we have now only one demand – One Rank One Pension”, said Dhumal, adding that of 52 martyrs in the Kargil conflict, nine were from Sujanpur constituency alone.
“I had developed a huge network of the roads in the state but the Congress government had neither maintained those nor did they construct any new road,” said Dhumal while targeting Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.
Hamirpur Lok Sabha MP and Dhumal’s son, Anurag Thakur, while taking a dig at Congress, said the party could not meet a single promise made in their previous manifesto. “So, this time they did not make any election manifesto,” he quipped.
He also invoked ‘women power’ and claimed that the BJP had given tickets to double the number of women candidates when compared to the Congress.