Three-time BJP MP from Himachal Pradesh Suresh Chandel joined the Congress Monday.
Chandel had been in talks with the top Congress leadership in New Delhi hoping to contest from Hamirpur in the party’s ticket. However, the Congress recently named Ram Lal Thakur, the party MLA from Sri Naina Deviji as its candidate from Hamirpur.
Chandel, who joined the party in New Delhi, said, “Before deciding to join the Congress, I spoke to the chief minister (Jai Ram Thakur) asking him about my role in the government and in the party. I didn’t get any clear answer. I want to work for society, so I joined the Congress. April 25 onwards I will campaign for the Congress (in the state).”
Chandel had won the Lok Sabha polls from the Hamirpur in 2004, 1999, and 1998. After Chandel, the seat has been represented by BJP’s Anurag Thakur, who is the son of former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.
Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Kuldeep Singh Rathore said, “Chandel ji, (Congress in-charge for Himachal Pradesh) Rajani Patil ji and I met (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi ji today (in New Delhi). Chandel ji is a very senior leader and he joined the Congress today without any precondition.”
“Chandel ji’s support to us has definitely strengthened us. it will help make the contest in Hamirpur challenging for the BJP,” Rathore said. State BJP general secretary Chander Mohan Thakur, who is the convenor for election campaign management for the state, said, “He (Chandel) has been on a political window-shopping spree for some time now. Him joining Congress will have no adverse effect on the BJP.”