HIMACHAL BYPOLL: Ex-minister Narinder Bragta’s son jumps into fray as Ind, BJP worried

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 8

The BJP seems to have landed itself in deep trouble by denying ticket to former minister Narinder Bragta's son Chetan Bragta as he today chose to jump into the election arena as an Independent from the Jubbal-Kotkhai Assembly segment, the apple heartland in Shimla district.

Chetan miffed with party

  • BJP making efforts to ensure Chetan Bragta withdraws by Oct 13
  • BJP has given ticket to Neelam Saraik, who contested as Independent against his father Narinder Bragta last time

The fear of losing the seat, which has traditionally been a Congress citadel with two Chief Ministers (Ram Lal Thakur and Virbhadra Singh) winning from there, has gripped the BJP as all efforts to placate Chetan have proved futile so far. However, all possible channels are still being tapped to ensure his withdrawal.

The BJP has given the ticket to Neelam Saraik, who had contested as an Independent against Narinder Bragta in the last Assembly elections.

The Jubbal-Kotkhai seat will witness a keen triangular contest among the BJP, Congress and Chetan Bragta in case he does not succumb to party pressure to withdraw. Narinder Bragta had won from Jubbal-Kotkhai twice and vociferously raised issues concerning apple growers.

Chetan (44), head of the state BJP IT Cell, could ride high on the sympathy factor, not so much because of his father's demise but more so for being denied the ticket at the last minute.

"Is there no recognition for my 15 years of work for the party? I did not ask for the ticket, it is state leadership which asked me to step out within a fortnight of my father's death, so tell me what is my fault," Bragta said in a voice choked with emotion after filing his nomination today. Narinder Bragta, who died in June this year, was considered a staunch Dhumal loyalist and was a minister in the former CM's Cabinet twice. Chetan did not mince words in stating that injustice had been meted out to his family.

"A person who plotted against the party and tried to weaken the BJP has been rewarded. I would have had no problem if any party worker had been given the ticket," he said while indirectly hitting out at BJP candidate Neelam Saraik.

In case, the party fails to placate Chetan, the split in party vote bank could prove to be advantageous for Congress candidate Rohit Thakur, grandson of former chief minister Ram Lal Thakur. He has won twice in the past.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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