Thakur tries to placate Chetan Bragta, urges him to support Neelam Saraik

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 8

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today tried to bring Chetan Bragta around and urged him and his supporters to reconcile to the party decision of fielding Neelam Saraik for the Jubbal-Kotkhai byelection. A piquant situation had arisen after Chetan was denied the BJP ticket at the last minute.

Rohit expects to gain from split in BJP votes

  • Expecting a split in BJP votes, former Chief Parliamentary Secretary and two-time MLA Rohit Thakur on Friday filed his nomination papers for the Jubbal-Kotkhai Assembly byelection.
  • As Chetan Bragta has filed nomination as an Independent candidate, the Congress is hoping to make the most of the advantageous situation.
  • If Chetan Bragta fights the byelection, Rohit is bound to gain from the split in the BJP's votes.
  • Rohit (47), a political science (honours) graduate from Panjab University, is the grandson of former Chief Minister Ram Lal Thakur. He had lost the 2017 Assembly elections to BJP's Narinder Bragta by a margin of 1,062 votes.

Thakur, who was present with Saraik when she filed her nomination papers at Jubbal, urged local leaders to work for the party like disciplined soldiers. He said that the former minister raised issues of apple growers and ensured the development of the area. He urged all to join hands and work unitedly for Saraik's victory. The family of Narinder Bragta, on whose demise the Jubbal-Kotkhai seat fell vacant, exercise considerable influence in the constituency.

Meanwhile, the change of the candidate at the last minute has baffled the Chief Minister and the state leadership. Chetan had been campaigning in the constituency immediately after his father's death in August.

"I do not want to say anything specific but I urge those, who have chosen a different path, to reconsider their decision and join hands in ensuring the BJP's victory," said the Chief Minister in an oblique reference to Chetan, who has filed nomination papers as a rebel candidate.

"Notwithstanding the circumstances, we must abide by the decision of the party. Nadda ji gave up ministry in the state, then at the Centre to serve the party organisation. I have done the same thing right from my journey as the Seraj block BJP president to the Chief Minister's chair," he said.

Thakur said that Saraik had been the state general secretary of the Mahila Morcha and had won the Zila Parishad elections thrice. Her performance convinced the central leadership to give her a chance in the byelection, he added.

Saraik thanked the party leadership for giving the ticket to a woman candidate from Jubbal-Kotkhai for the first time. "Narinder Bragta was a messiah who had done a lot for apple growers," she said.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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