HIMACHAL BYPOLL: BJP fields Kargil war veteran against Pratibha; Bragta’s son loses ticket race

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 7

The BJP on Thursday released the list of candidates for the October 30 Lok Sabha and Assembly bypolls. The party has fielded Kargil war hero Brig Khushal Thakur (retd) from the Mandi Lok Sabha seat to take on Congress' Pratibha Singh, a two-time MP and wife of former CM Virbhadra Singh.

Brig Thakur was the Commanding Officer of 18 Grenadiers that captured the Tiger Hill and Tololing during the Kargil war. He served the Army for 34 years and is a recipient of Yudh Seva Medal. He was a strong contender for the ticket in 2019, but was ignored. The ticket was given to Ram Swaroop Sharma, whose demise caused the byelection.

Former zila parishad member Neelam Saraik, who had been at the forefront of several agitations, including the one against delay in the Theog-Hatkoti road project, will contest the Jubbal-Kotkhai (Shimla) Assembly byelection. The seat fell vacant after the demise of former BJP minister Narinder Bragta. His son Chetan Bragta had started canvassing in the area, but was denied the ticket as the party decided "not to promote dynasty politics".

The BJP list also named Ratan Singh Pal from the Arki Assembly seat in Solan. Pal had lost the 2017 polls against former CM Virbhadra Singh, who died in July this year. In Fatehpur (Kangra), the BJP has fielded Baldev Thakur, who contested the 2017 election as an Independent and was instrumental in the defeat of the then BJP candidate Kirpal Parmar.

Brig Thakur filed his nomination today, while the other three candidates would be filling their papers tomorrow, the last day of nominations.

Other candidates

  • Neelam Saraik from Jubbal-Kotkhai (Shimla), though ex-minister Narinder Bragta's son Chetan too was in race
  • Ratan Singh Pal will contest from Arki in Solan
  • In Fatehpur (Kangra), ticket to Baldev Thakur, who fought as Independent in 2017
Courtesy: Tribune News Service
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