Tuesday, Jun 18, 2024 | Last Update : 04:14 AM IST

  India   All India  01 Apr 2019  Himachal: Cong’s old guard faces challenge from youth

Himachal: Cong’s old guard faces challenge from youth

THE ASIAN AGE. | TANVEER THAKUR
Published : Apr 1, 2019, 2:47 am IST
Updated : Apr 1, 2019, 7:03 am IST

The BJP decided not to field veteran BJP leader and two-time former chief minister Shanta Kumar from Kangra constituency in the forthcoming elections.

However, the Congress in Himachal is still betting on its veteran leaders like Virbadhra Singh, 84, who is also leading the campaign in Himachal for the party. (Photo: PTI)
 However, the Congress in Himachal is still betting on its veteran leaders like Virbadhra Singh, 84, who is also leading the campaign in Himachal for the party. (Photo: PTI)

Shimla: It is going to be old guard of the Congress versus new generation leaders of the BJP in the hilly state of Himachal in the parliamentary elections.

As the BJP has decided to replace veteran leader Shanta Kumar with a new candidate, it is an end of era for him, not to mention another BJP veteran leader Prem Kumar Dhumal who lost Assembly polls two years ago which made him out of active politics.

However, the Congress in Himachal is still betting on its veteran leaders like Virbadhra Singh, 84, who is also leading the campaign in Himachal for the party.

With 91-year-old leader Sukh Ram joining the Congress and seeking a ticket for his grandson from Mandi parliamentary seat where he yields a considerable influence, it is going to be a battle between old war horses of Congress versus next generation leaders of BJP.

The BJP decided not to field veteran BJP leader and two-time former chief minister Shanta Kumar from Kangra constituency in the forthcoming elections.

Mr Kumar was also a Union minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. Earlier in the 2017 Assembly polls when the BJP captured power from the Congress, BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal lost his election paving the way for the much younger Jai Ram Thakur to take charge. The appointment was seen as the generational shift by the BJP, which now seems complete with Mr Kumar also retiring.

The BJP has changed and reinvented itself in Himachal, however, the Congress seems to be stuck in time wrap with party still talking of Virbadhra Singh and Sukh Ram rivalry. The Congress has appointed Virbadhra Singh as the chairman of the campaign committee. With his appointment, Virbadhra Singh will now be responsible for spearheading the party’s campaign committee. Even as Virbadhra Singh was reluctant to contest parliamentary elections, the party’s decision to go to elections under his chairmanship has indicated that the Congress has failed to nurture second-generation leadership in Himachal. The fact is further corroborated when Sukh Ram joined the Congress recently seeking ticket for his grandson Ashray Sharma from Mandi parliamentary constituency. The fact that the Congress is trying to induct disgruntled leaders like Suresh Chandel making him a party candidate from Hamirpur parliamentary constituency is not going down well with many of its supporters.

As the traditional rivals Congress and BJP are going to face each other in the hill state, there is one clear difference between the two parties. Whereas the BJP will be led by younger leaders like chief minister Jai Ram Thakur, the Congress would be banking on old war horses like Virbadhra Singh and Sukh Ram. The parliamentary elections will be fought between the old guard of the Congress versus new generation of the saffron party.

Tags: virbadhra singh, shanta kumar, prem kumar dhumal
Location: India, Himachal Pradesh, Shimla