Dhumal’s son, Bhajan Lal to slog it out Thursday

May 21st, 2008 - 7:30 pm ICT by admin  

Chandigarh/Hamirpur, May 21 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur is tipped to enter the Lok Sabha from being a cricket administrator after Thursday’s by-poll in Hamirpur - the third election in the constituency in four years. Simultaneously, three assembly seats in Haryana and one in Punjab will also see balloting, the most high profile candidate being former chief minister and former Congress veteran Bhajan Lal.

For the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which used to accuse the Congress of ‘dynastic politics’ of the Gandhi family, it is time to receive some flak from the Congress this time for allowing Thakur, Dhumal’s elder son, to contest in Hamipur.

Though Thakur’s victory in the by-poll is seen as a forgone conclusion over his main contender O.P. Rattan of the Congress, what is at stake for Dhumal is the margin with which his son wins. Dhumal’s heads his five-month-old government in the hill state.

Dhumal, who vacated the seat earlier this year after becoming chief minister, won the election by over 80,000 votes, a record, from Hamirpur.

The Lok Sabha seat has seen three elections in four years. In 2004, BJP’s Suresh Chandel was elected. He was unseated last year when his name figured in a cash-for-query scam exposed in a TV sting operation.

Dhumal was made the party candidate for this seat last year although he was reluctant to contest. He won convincingly despite the Congress being in power in the state at that time. Now, his son is in the fray for Thursday’s by-election.

In neighbouring Haryana, a major test is on the cards for one of the biggest political personalities in the state - Bhajan Lal - and for his newly floated Haryana Janhit Congress (BL) as three assembly seats go to polls.

All three seats fell vacant because Bhajan Lal and his supporters-legislators Dharampal Malik and Rakesh Kamboj were disqualified from their assembly seats of Adampur, Gohana and Indri respectively in March for joining the newly created Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC).

The 77-year-old Bhajan Lal, who has not been keeping good health, faces a crucial popularity test at the Adampur assembly seat that he has represented nine times since 1968. This is the first time he will be contesting without the Congress party tag to his name.

The ruling Congress in Haryana, led by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, is going all out to give a tough fight to Bhajan Lal and to wrest the Indri and Gohana seats to decimate HJC at the very outset.

In neighbouring Punjab, the ruling Akali Dal enjoys an upper hand in the Amritsar-south assembly seat with the Congress already complaining about intimidation by the Akalis.

The seat fell vacant after the death of Akali Dal legislator Raminder Singh Bolaria. His son Inderbir Singh Bolaria is pitted against Navdeep Singh Goldy of the Congress.

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