Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Wednesday said Mandi Lok Sabha seat was with BJP in the past and it will continue to remain so as the party will win bypolls in the parliamentary constituency.
Talking to media in Mandi district, Thakur said the dates for by-elections had been declared by the Election Commission of India and the BJP was making preparations to contest the elections that were scheduled to be held on 30 October and the candidates for bypolls will be declared soon.
Replying to a query on former CM Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh contesting elections from the Mandi parliamentary constituency, he stated that it was the Congress party’s prerogative to select as to whom to field in elections.
“But I think they had analyzed the situation in the Mandi Lok Sabha seat incorrectly as it wasn’t the same as was the case during previous Congress governments rule.
Many things have changed since the Congress rule in Mandi district and ground realities are different now as was the case in the past,” he added.
Replying to a query on meeting with Mandi MLA BJP Anil Sharma, father of Ashray Sharma who was denied party ticket by Congress from Mandi Lok Sabha seat, he said it was a formal meeting as he was still ruling party MLA and nothing more should be predicted from their discussions.
“If he wants to be a part of our election campaign and wants to cooperate with us, then he is welcome as technically still he was a BJP MLA,” he added.
It is worth mentioning here that Anil Sharma on Tuesday evening had met Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur soon after Congress declared the list of candidates of bypolls to the Mandi Lok Sabha seat and assembly segments of Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal Kotkhai, giving fuel to speculations.
The Congress party had fielded Pratibha Singh from the seat which might have angered the senior Congress leader Sukh Ram as he was seeking a ticket for Ashray Sharma, his grandson and son of former minister and BJP MLA Anil Sharma.
Much was being read into Sharma and Thakur’s meeting as in 2019, the Mandi legislator had revolted against BJP after he was told to participate in Lok Sabha polls campaigning for party candidate Ramswaroop Sharma.