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Himachal by-election becomes Sukhu vs. Anurag Thakur, Congress will be strong or BJP will take revenge?

Nita Yadav

By Nita Yadav

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Sukhwinder Singh and Anurag Thakur

Voting is going on today for the by-elections in the Himachal Pradesh assembly seat that fell vacant due to the resignation of three independent MLAs. Dehra, Hamirpur and Nalagarh seats in the state are in direct contest between Congress and BJP. BJP has fielded three MLAs who resigned, while Congress has bet on a new face. With the prestige of the incumbent Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu at stake in the state, the by-election is no less than a litmus test for BJP MP Anurag Thakur. In such a situation it has to be seen who wins over whom in the game of checkmate?

Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu’s reputation is at stake in the by-election as his wife Kamlesh Thakur is contesting from the Dehra seat, in which case his wife will win over Sukhu and the remaining two seats as well. Congress has the responsibility to strengthen the government. At the same time, the credibility of the by-election for BJP MP Anurag Thakur remains in question as two of the three seats that are up for election fall under his parliamentary constituency. In such a scenario, the Himachal by-election is limited between Sukhu versus Anurag Thakur.

Why did Anurag Thakur use his strength?

Anurag Thakur has been camping in Himachal for several days, focusing on his parliamentary constituency Hamirpur. Dehra and Hamirpur seats come under Anurag Thakur’s Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat. Anurag Thakur has been MP from Hamirpur for five consecutive terms since 2008. Before this, Anurag’s father and former Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has been an MP three times. In such a situation, the responsibility of winning the Dehra and Hamirpur assembly seats is on the shoulders of Anurag Thakur, due to which he is stalling.

Anurag Thakur has campaigned vigorously to win Dehra and Hamirpur assembly seats. He has held four to five public meetings and road shows at each seat. He is facing the biggest challenge in the Dehra seat as here BJP candidate Hoshiar Singh Chambyal is contesting against CM Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu’s wife Kamlesh Thakur. In the 2022 elections, independent candidate Hoshiar Singh Chambyal won from the Dehra seat, but the entry of Sukhu’s wife has made the battle interesting. Because of this, CM Sukhu’s credibility is at stake and he has put all his strength to win his wife, while Anurag Thakur has given his whole life for BJP’s Chambil.

How special is Hamirpur for Congress?

In the Hamirpur assembly seat, BJP has given ticket to former independent MLA Ashish Sharma, against whom Pushpendra Verma is contesting from Congress. The seat falls in the parliamentary constituency of BJP MP Anurag Thakur, for which he has done everything from bike rallies to street meetings. The battle of Hamirpur district has become important for Congress as Sukhu hails from Nadaun in Hamirpur district. Sukhu is an MLA from here and Deputy CM Mukesh Agnihotri’s Haroli seat also falls in this district. In this way, Hamirpur is equally special for the Congress. Sukhu and Anurag have played all their political tricks on both the seats. In such a situation it remains to be seen who wins the political battle?

The third seat of Himachal Pradesh is Nalagarh, which falls in Shimla. The BJP has also fielded former independent MLA KL Thakur from the Nalagarh seat, where he is pitted against Hardeep Singh Bawa of the Congress. All three independent MLAs are trying their luck in the election arena by joining the BJP. Winning all three seats is important for the Congress to consolidate its power position in Himachal, but the BJP has made the fight interesting by fielding only one independent MLA.

Will Anurag Thakur compromise politically with Congress?

In 2024, six Congress MLAs rebelled and cross-voted for Harsh Mahajan in the Rajya Sabha elections. He was suspended from the party, after which the assembly elections were held along with the Lok Sabha. Out of the by-elections held on six assembly seats, Congress won four and BJP won two seats. Of these six seats, four were part of the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat, three of which were won by the Congress and one by the BJP. For this reason, Anurag Thakur wants to take revenge from Sukhu by winning both seats of Hamirpur in this by-election.

Congress has strengthened its position in the state assembly by winning 4 seats. In the 65-member Himachal Legislative Assembly, the Congress has 38 MLAs compared to the BJP’s 27 MLAs. Sukhu has since grown stronger, but needs to win by-elections on three seats to further strengthen the Congress government. In such circumstances, it remains to be seen whether Sukhu works to strengthen his government or Anurag Thakur will compromise politically with the Congress?

Nita Yadav

Nita Yadav

I am Nita Yadav, specializing in writing about politics and breaking national news. My focus is on delivering insightful and timely perspectives on these crucial topics, aiming to inform and engage my readers effectively.

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