Anurag Thakur Seeks 5th Win In Himachal Seat, Congress All-Out To Stop Him

Anurag Thakur won Himachal Pradesh's Hamirpur seat in 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2019

Anurag Thakur Seeks 5th Win In Himachal Seat, Congress All-Out To Stop Him

Anurag Thakur is seeking a fifth straight term as Hamipur MP in this Lok Sabha election

Hamirpur (Himachal Pradesh):

Stakes are high for Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu and Union minister Anurag Singh Thakur in Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency, where revolt in the Congress and four simultaneous six assembly byelections have made the parliamentary contest exciting.

Mr Thakur won the 2019 elections by 3,99,572 votes, 2014 polls by 98,403 votes, 2009 by 72,732 and 2008 byelection by 1,74,666 votes.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah's remarks that Hamirpur has got a ready-made minister and will not get an MP like him even if the people search with a lamp have given a boost to Mr Thakur's campaign. It is also likely to benefit the BJP in the assembly byelections.

Mr Sukhu and Deputy Chief Minister Mukesh Agnihotri are intensively campaigning in the constituency and accusing Mr Thakur of making tall promises and claiming that the Congress will wrest the seat this time.

The Hamirpur parliamentary constituency is considered a bastion of the BJP. Out of the 17 elections including two byelections held since 1952, the BJP has won 10 times, the Congress five and the Janata Party and an Independent once each.

Anurag Thakur, who was elected for the first time in 2008 bypoll following his father Prem Kumar Dhumal's resignation after taking over as chief minister of the state, won three more elections in a row in 2009, 2014 and 2019.

As he seeks the consecutive fifth term, he faces former MLA from Una, Satpal Singh Raizada, of the Congress.

It is for the first time that the Lok Sabha polls are being held in Hamirpur constituency with Congress chief minister Sukhu, hailing from Hamirpur district, in the saddle, and the assembly segments of the chief minister, deputy chief minister Mukesh Agnihotri and cabinet minister Rajesh Dharmani falling under this constituency.

The Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency comprises 17 assembly segments -- five constituencies each in Hamirpur and Una districts, four in Bilaspur district, Dehra and Jaswan-Pragpur in Kangra district and Dharampur in Mandi district.

In the 2022 assembly polls, the Congress won four seats each in Hamirpur and Una district and one each in Bilaspur and Mandi districts, while the BJP bagged only five seats and two seats went to Independents.

However, after the February-March revolt in the Congress, the electoral arithmetic changed. The Hamirpur parliamentary constituency was the most affected as four Congress MLAs revolted and one Independent, supporting the Congress, also joined the BJP.

The assembly byelections in Sujanpur and Barsar in Hamirpur district and Kutlehar and Gagret in Una districts are also being held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls.

Chief minister Sukhu is raising local issues and accusing the BJP of hatching a conspiracy to topple his government with money power. He is also hitting out at the rebels for "selling out their soul" in the political Mandi of BJP in Rajya Sabha polls.

The Congress is also raking up the issue of denial of special financial packages for relief and rehabilitation during the worst ever monsoon disaster and counting the achievements like restoration of Old Pension Scheme (OPS), Rs 1,500 per month to women and hike in procurement price of milk.

The Agniveer scheme has emerged as a major issue in the Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency as it has a sizeable number of ex-servicemen and serving soldiers. The Congress has promised to scrap the scheme, alleging it deprives the youth from regular jobs in the army and pension.

The BJP leaders are defending the Agniveer scheme and also reminding that the NDA government implemented One Rank, One Pension (OROP) and has so far disbursed Rs 1.25 lakh crore so far to the ex-servicemen.

According to the official data, there are about 1.69 lakh ex-servicemen, war widows and widows, and 80,000 serving soldiers in the state with concentration in Hamirpur, Una, Kangra and Mandi districts.

Unemployment is a major issue in the polls and the Congress has promised to fill 30 lakh vacancies in various departments besides giving Rs 1 lakh per year to women and youth.

The BJP and Anurag Thakur are counting the achievements of the Modi government, besides the mega schemes and projects brought to the state by him. The BJP is also banking on the Ram temple and the charisma of Narendra Modi.

It is accusing the Congress of making false promises to grab power in Himachal and betraying the people by not implementing the poll guarantees.

Hamirpur, along with three other Lok Sabha and six assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh, goes to polls in the seventh and last phase of the Lok Sabha elections on June 1. The total number of electorate is 14,56,099.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)