Just like their rivals BJP, the Congress faces a mounting challenge of rebellion within their party ranks as the Himachal Assembly elections draw closer. In a bid to stem rebellion, the party has handed tickets to most of its sitting MLAs for the upcoming polls. However, the party on Sunday suspended six of its members for six years after they went ahead and filed nomination papers as Independents after the Congress turned them down, reports The Indian Express.
The party has been upbeat ahead of the polls as the continuing trend in the recently held assembly elections in the state suggest that the incumbent party has always been voted out. Bolstered by Priyanka Gandhi’s presence in the political rallies, the party hopes for a revival in the upcoming elections. The party fared poorly in the last elections after securing only 21 seats as against BJP’s 44.
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Priyanka, who has been visiting the state often ahead of the elections, on Monday told voters that Congress is the only hope in the state while campaigning in Chief Minister Jairam Thakur’s seat in Mandi.
Priyanka, addressing a public meeting on Indira Gandhi’s death anniversary, brought out the connection the district shares with the former Prime Minister. She said that she had received a warm welcome in many places in the region as the locals respected her grandmother. She said that during her grandmother’s time, there were values attached to words as against BJP’s spate of false promises in the region, reported IE.
Recollecting Indira Gandhi’s speech when Himachal received statehood in 1972, Priyanka, addressing a rally in Solan earlier, said that the people of the state braved the snowfall and came to hear Indira Gandhi. With Priyanka expressing her family’s decades-old connection with the state, the current divisions within the party remain a headache.
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In the Theog constituency in Shimla, the party has fielded former state unit chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore. Rathore will be fighting in a seat where the late BJP MLA Rakesh Verma wielded huge influence. Two months back, Verma’s wife Indu, who was also a key face for BJP in the region, joined Congress in the hope of getting a ticket, reported IE. Not far from Theog, Chopal witnesses a similar rebellion as Subhash Manglet has expressed his displeasure with the Congress high command after the party fielded Rajnish Khimtia from the constituency. In Sullah, the decision to field Joseph Sepehia against former party legislator and OBC leader Jagjivan Pal has not gone down well with local party workers, according to IE.
Elections in Himachal Pradesh are scheduled to be held on November 12 while the counting of votes will be taken up on December 8.