The BJP is facing internal dissatisfaction over its ticket distribution plan in Himachal Elections as many candidates were replaced
In the presence of the BJP’s national president JP Nadda, former Congress adversary of former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh Major (retired) Vijay Singh Mankotia switched parties on Tuesday, in Bilaspur. Rakesh Kalia, the former MLA from Chintpurni and former secretary of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC), joined the ruling party as well, but in the Gagret constituency in the Kangra district and the presence of the BJP’s state chief.
However, the BJP’s problems have not been solved by these most recent recruits, as the party is still dealing with internal dissatisfaction over its ticket distribution plan for the Himachal elections. Maheshwar Singh, the party’s former state unit president, was replaced as its Kullu Sadar candidate on Tuesday, the final day for submitting nominations. After failing to persuade his son Hiteshwar to withdraw from the election in the Banjar constituency, Singh went on to file his nomination as an Independent and claimed that he was replaced.
He wasn’t the only BJP official to declare himself an independent. Along with two other BJP leaders from Dharamshala, state BJP vice-president Ram Singh also submitted his paperwork as an independent candidate from Kullu Sadar for the upcoming Himachal elections.
Having had his election ticket revoked, Maheshwar Singh, a citizen of the formerly princely state of Kullu, held a conference of his supporters in Bhuntar to devise a plan. Singh claimed that although the party gave him a ticket, they did not give him the “B” form, which determines whether candidates get the party sign. The former state BJP leader claimed that despite waiting till 2 pm for the form, nothing came. He then submitted his independent nomination. Singh has been replaced by Narottam Thakur, a teacher, by the BJP.
Maheshwar Singh meets JP Nadda to cancel the ticket
The BJP leader claimed that he had questioned JP Nadda as to why he had been handed the nomination if “you had to do this with me.” Nadda and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur were informed by Singh that he would wait till the nomination scrutiny date of October 27, for the party to change its mind and grant him the B form. Singh stated that he would run as a BJP candidate if it transpired. The former head of the Himachal BJP remarked, “Otherwise, I shall decide on my own. I will not allow myself to be blackmailed.”
Vipin Naihariya and Anil Choudhry are also in field
Vipin Naihariya, vice president of the BJP’s Scheduled Tribe (ST) Morcha, and Anil Choudhry, head of the Dharamshala unit, filed as Independents from the Dharamshala constituency after the party nominated Rakesh Chaudhary, who is from an Other Backward Classes (OBC) group. There is a large OBC community in Dharamshala. Chaudhary has the support of incumbent MLA Vishal Naihariya, who was also not fielded. Vipin is a prominent member of the Gaddi community, and his choice is probably going to hurt the BJP’s support.
Anil Choudhry and Vipin Naihariya both claimed that they were committed to their supporters to contest the Himachal elections. According to Vipin, the BJP’s Dharamshala Mandal office holders all submitted their resignations in opposition to Chaudhary receiving the party’s nomination.
While bringing new faces, the party has canceled the tickets of 11 current MLAs for the Himachal elections. This has irritated several employees who were considering running for the tickets and are choosing to run independently at the risk of a vote split. The decision had previously issued a six-year ban from the party for opposing independent elections.
According to a spokesperson for the state election commission, more than 346 candidates submitted their candidacy papers on Tuesday, for the Assembly Himachal elections that will take place on November 12. Mandi district saw the most applicants (81), followed by Kangra (72), Chamba (34), Sirmour (35), Hamirpur (26), Shimla (29), Solan (23), Bilaspur (23), Kullu (19), Kinnaur (3), and Lahaul-Spiti (1). With this, 600 candidates have already submitted their nominations for the 68 Assembly constituencies.
Subhash Manglate, a former member of the Congress legislature for Shimla, announced his candidacy for Chaupal as an Independent. Rajneesh Kimta, the general secretary of the opposition party and a close confidant of Rajeev Shukla, the party’s state coordinator, is running in the district.
Gangu Ram Musafir, a former speaker and rebel of the Congress submitted his nomination as an Independent from Pachhad in the Sirmaur district. Both the Assembly elections in 2017 and a by-election two years later lost by him.