SHIMLA: It’s ‘blind love’ for two BJP politician fathers when it comes to supporting their sons in the Lok Sabha elections in Himachal Pradesh.
While one ‘lost’ his cabinet berth owing to his greenhorn Congress politician son who is trying his luck against his own party’s nominee, the other has to spend most of his time and energy to ensure the victory of his three-time MP son.
That’s what is happening in the Mandi and Hamirpur seats, respectively.
Anil Sharma has lost his berth in the Jai Ram Thakur-led cabinet as he refused to campaign against his party BJP’s nominee Ram Swaroop Sharma from Mandi.
His son Ashray Sharma is in fray as a Congress nominee.
So is two-time Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal who is devoting much of his time campaigning for his son and sitting MP son Anurag Thakur, known for his flamboyance.
Thakur is busy chastising his rival and four-time legislator Sharma, who resigned from the cabinet on April 12.
Son of former Telecom Minister Sukh Ram, Sharma defected to the Congress and joined the BJP before the Assembly elections in November 2017.
Thakur never forgets to tell voters that “his former Cabinet Minister has love for son Ashray Sharma and that is why he’s not campaigning in Mandi for the BJP candidate”.
“It is Sukh Ram’s desire that spoiled the political career of his son Anil Sharma and his grandson’s ambition that destroyed his father’s career,” Thakur speaks in chaste local dialect.
BJP General Secretary Chander Mohan Thakur told IANS: “Anil Sharma should either rise above ‘putra moh’ or he should resign (from the party).”
Popularly known as ‘Panditji’ in his bastion of Mandi, the six-time legislator and three-time MP Sukh Ram and his grandson Ashray Sharma rejoined the Congress on March 25 after quitting the BJP.
Taking a jibe at his rivals, Ashray Sharma, whose brother is married to Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’s foster sister Arpita, is saying “his father’s soul is in the Congress while only the body is in the BJP”.
Contrary to them, Dhumal, who has been marginalised in state politics after facing a humiliating defeat in the 2017 Assembly polls, is devoting his maximum time and energy in the constituency only to ensure his son’s victory, say political observers.
He has not toured other three parliamentary constituencies in the state so far, admitted a senior party leader.
The Congress pitted ex-wrestler and five-time legislator Ram Lal Thakur against BJP’s Thakur from Hamirpur, the seat the Congress has won only once in 30 years.
Ram Lal Thakur has represented the state in kabaddi team six times at the national-level and remained its captain thrice.
However, Anurag Thakur, 44, who believes the people will vote for the BJP for ensuring stability and sustainable economic growth of the country, is the BJP’s most flamboyant member of Parliament whose innings with the Board of Cricket for Control in India is fast furious but short-lived.
Since his maiden victory in the parliamentary by-election in May 2008, Anurag Thakur, who was re-elected as HPCA Pr0esident in 2016 for the fourth time in succession since 2000, has been targeted by the rivals for being high-profile and jet-setting, and for rubbing shoulders with high and mighty, says a political observer.
Contrary to him, people know Dhumal personally and have seen his work in his two stints as the Chief Minister. “So they will vote in his favour,” believes the observer.
Voting for the four Lok Sabha seats will be held on May 19.
(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)