In the state, preparations were on to hold byelections to Fatehpur and Mandi seats and now Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly seat has also fallen vacant.
SHIMLA: Ahead of the assembly election in the second half of 2022, byelections on two assembly seats and one parliamentary seat will be the litmus test for both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress. While BJP is facing the challenge of proving the popularity of its government, Congress is facing the challenge of showing that since the 2017 assembly election and 2019 parliamentary election, it has managed to consolidate its position. After the death of BJP MLA from Jubbal-Kotkhai in Shimla district, Narinder Bragata, another assembly seat has fallen vacant in the hill state. Byelections will now be held at three places.
Fatehpur assembly seat of Kangra fell vacant following the demise of Congress MLA Sujan Singh Pathania while Mandi parliamentary seat fell vacant after the death of BJP MP Ramswaroop Sharma. A day before the demise of Narinder Bragta at PGI, Chandigarh, BJP’s Core Committee met in Chandigarh to discuss the issue of bypolls on Fatehpur assembly seat and Mandi parliamentary seat. Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur attended this meeting.
In the state, preparations were on to hold byelections to Fatehpur and Mandi seats and now Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly seat has also fallen vacant. On Monday, election commission officials will hold a virtual meeting with state chief secretary to discuss bypolls. Even if the state assembly does not notify the vacancy of Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly area, the chief secretary is likely to inform election commission officials about it.
BJP had won the Mandi parliamentary seat in 2019 by a huge victory margin of 4,05,459 votes. BJP’s Ram Swaroop Sharma secured 6,47,189 votes to defeat Congress’s Aashray Sharma, who could secure only 2,41,730 votes. In 2014 and 2019, BJP won all four parliamentary seats of Mandi, Kangra, Shimla and Hamirpur while Congress failed to even open its account.
In Kangra district, former Congress minister Sujan Singh Pathania won from Fatehpur assembly seat in 2017. Bypoll is due there following his demise. Since 2003, both the Congress and BJP have won from Jubbal-Kotkhai seat in turn. In the 2003 election, Congress’s Rohit Thakur had won this seat by a margin of 6,844 votes. In the 2007 election, BJP’s Narinder Bragta won this seat by a margin of 2,824 votes. In the 2012 election, Rohit Thakur again won this seat by a margin of 9,095 votes while in the 2017 election, Bragta won this seat by a margin of 1,062 votes.