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Assembly elections 2017: ‘Dynasty mentality’ rules Himachal politics

Archana Phull | Shimla |

‘Dynasty mentality’ dominates politics in Himachal Pradesh, above party lines.

MLAs and ministers apart, four out of five chief ministers of HP so far have their families cashing in on the ‘electoral pitch’ prepared by them. Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief minister (CM), Shanta Kumar is, however, the only exception in this regard.

In two cases, including former Congress chief ministers, Dr YS Parmar and Thakur Ram Lal, it was circumstantial.

Founder CM of Himachal, Dr YS Parmar (Sirmaur), who became CM four times in 1952, 1963, 1967 and 1972, had his son, Kush Parmar enter the electoral arena in 1982 after his death in 1981.

Kush Parmar was elected five times from Paonta and then Nahan Assembly segments in Sirmaur district. He lost to BJP in Nahan in the 2012 Assembly polls.

This time, Kush Parmar’s son Chetan Parmar was denied the Congress ticket from Nahan, Chetan quickly joined BJP, alleging that Congress ignored his family.

Thakur Ram Lal’s grandson, Rohit Thakur threw his hat in the ring in Jubbal Kotkhai Assembly segment in Shimla district in the 2003 Assembly polls after his death in 2002.

Thakur Ram Lal became CM thrice for very short periods in 1977, 1980 and 1983 and was elected nine times from  Jubbal Kotkhai.

He never lost an election. Rohit Thakur won the seat in 2003 and 2012 and is in fray again.

Six times Congress CM, Virbhadra Singh’s wife, Pratibha Singh is two-time MP from Mandi, and this time, his son, Vikramaditya Singh is fighting on Shimla (Rural) Assembly segment, which Virbhadra won in 2012.

Virbhadra has vacated his constituency for his son and has shifted to Arki in Solan district this time.

In BJP, two-time CM, Prem Kumar Dhumal launched his son, Anurag Thakur on Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat that he vacated in 2007 to switch back to state politics.

Anurag has won the Lok Sabha polls thrice since then.

There have been glaring instances where some Assembly seats have traditionally gone to sons, with Mandi, Jawali and Shillai as glaring examples.

Sukh Ram represented Mandi seven times and passed on the legacy to his son, Anil Sharma, who won thrice, and is again in fray now, this time on the BJP ticket.

Jawali (Guler earlier) in Kangra district was for long ruled by the former Congress minister, Chander Kumar. His son, Neeraj Bharti represented it twice, when Chander Kumar decided to contest Lok Sabha polls. This time, the father is in fray again.

Shillai Assembly seat in Sirmaur was held by the former Congress minister, Guman Singh Chauhan since 1957, and after him, his son, Harshwardhan Chauhan, four time MLA from Shillai, has been continuously contesting from there.

“The trend of dynasty politics is more in Congress. People don’t have any objection if the family members join electoral fray in cases where they work hard on the field,” said state vice president of BJP, Ganesh Dutt.