With five sitting MLAs, including a Cabinet minister, in the field to contest the Lok Sabha polls in Himachal Pradesh, the aspirants, who were denied tickets or lost in the 2017 Assembly elections, have now become hopeful of making it to the Legislative Assembly.
From BJP, two sitting MLAs ~ Kishan Kapoor from Dharamshala, who also holds the charge of Food and Civil Supplies Department, and Suresh Kashyap from Pachad ~ are contesting the Lok Sabha polls. Kapoor and Kashyap are fighting elections from Kangra and Shimla (SC reserve) parliamentary constituencies respectively.
Three sitting MLAs from Congress, Ram Lal Thakur from Shri Naina Devi, Col (retd) Dhaniram Shandil from Solan and Pawan Kajal from Kangra are contesting general elections that are scheduled to be held on 19 May. The candidature of Kapoor had raised hopes of ministerial berth aspirants if he wins from Kangra Lok Sabha seat.
The resignation of Anil Sharma from Cabinet after his father Sukh Ram and son Ashray Sharma joined Congress to contest Lok Sabha polls has created one vacancy of a minister in Jai Ram Thakur’s government. (Ashray is contesting Lok Sabha polls from Mandi parliamentary constituency on Congress ticket).
The Cabinet reshuffle in Himachal Pradesh is on the cards once the process of the Lok Sabha elections is over. On one hand, lobbying for ministerial berths has increased in BJP, on the other hand, there is the race for getting party tickets to contest Assembly by-polls if both the MLAs win Lok Sabha polls. Same is the case in Congress wherein aspirants of 2017 Assembly elections are now working to cement their place as the successor of sitting MLAs if they win the elections and contest by-elections that would be held after the LS polls.
Lobbying for ministerial berths and getting party tickets for by-polls have triggered competition among MLAs and ticket aspirants to perform better in general elections. The aspirants of ministerial berths and tickets are trying their best to work hard in the field and get lead in their constituencies. It would boost their chances of getting rewards from their respective parties in the form of Cabinet berth or ticket to contest Assembly by polls.
The poll battle for the Lok Sabha has even led to political rivals bury the hatchet and work unitedly to secure the victory of their candidates for it would open vistas of opportunities for them. In fact, the losers of last Assembly elections are also hoping for the victory of their rivals as it may provide them second chance to contest by polls and they are keeping their hopes alive for making it to Himachal Assembly again.
Among the hopeful for Cabinet berths in BJP government are Rakesh Pathania, Ramesh Dhwala, Narender Bragta, Bikram Singh Jaryal and Sukh Ram Chaudhary. The aspirants for Assembly elections include former housing minister Sudhir Sharma, Raghubir Bali, Rajesh Sharma, Surender Kaku, Umesh Dutt, Sanjay Sharma, Vinod Sultanpuri, Rampyari (Pachad), Rajesh Kashyap, Randhir Sharma, Sanjay Chaudhary, Gangu Ram Musafir and Suresh Chandel.