BJP launches campaign for Himachal parliamentary by-poll

Shimla, May 25 (IANS) Taking the lead, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Saturday formally launched its campaign for the June 23 Mandi parliamentary by-election in Himachal Pradesh.

"We have launched the campaign and our entire leadership, including (former chief minister) Prem Kumar Dhumal, will be touring the constituency," state BJP chief Satpal Satti told IANS.

The BJP central leadership Saturday announced that former state minister Jai Ram Thakur would be its candidate, whereas the ruling the Congress is yet to finalise its candidate for the seat.

The Mandi seat had fallen vacant following the resignation of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh after he was elected to the state assembly in December 2012.

Four-time legislator Thakur, known for his clean image, was the state president from 2007-09.

"Initially I was reluctant to contest the election as I had just contested one (assembly elections in November). But now the party has cleared my name, I will try my best to win the seat," he said.

Pratibha Singh, the wife of six-time chief minister Virbhadra Singh - who also remained MP from Mandi from 2004-09 - is likely to be fielded again.

Congress leader and former telecom minister Sukh Ram, 84, belongs to Mandi town and commands influence in the constituency.

The Congress, which returned to the state just five months ago after defeating the BJP, is hopeful of retaining the seat, say political observers. Virbhadra Singh won the Mandi seat in 2009 by a margin of over 13,000 votes by defeating Maheshwar Singh, then a BJP leader. Both are now members of the state assembly.

Pratibha Singh had defeated Maheshwar Singh, who in February last year launched a new political outfit Himachal Lokhit Party, by 66,566 votes in 2004.

She had, however, lost to the four-time MP in 1999 by over 131,000 votes.

The Mandi parliamentary constituency, which includes the tribal-dominated assembly constituencies of Kinnaur, Lahaul and Spiti, Kullu and some areas of Chamba district, is one of the largest constituencies in the country.

Among the 1.1 million voters in the constituency, over 150,000 are living in tribal areas.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

On Now: Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab

On Now: Rajasthan Royals vs Kings XI Punjab

GAME 7, SHARJAH—Punjab elect to bowl. More »

Royal test for Kings

Royal test for Kings

Preview — Clash of philosophies between Australia-centric teams More »

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

Have nothing to prove to anybody — Sehwag

The Nawab of Najafgarh says a good run in IPL could help his chances of a comeback on India's tour to England in June. More »

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Shastri in proposed IPL probe panel

Some members stressed on the need for proposing names with an "impeccable record and clean image". More »

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Duminy steals first win for Delhi

Furious fifties by Duminy and Dinesh Karthik end a long losing streak for the Daredevils. More »

Five things England must do to bounce back

Five things England must do to bounce back

England have appointed a new head coach in Peter Moores. More »

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

AB, Parthiv seal Bangalore's second win

Royal Challengers overcame a stutter to cruise to the small target they were set by Mumbai Indians. More »

‘Felt like helpless minority’

‘Felt like helpless minority’

Former BCCI treasurer Ajay Shirke says emotions got the better of Srinivasan and he tried to oversimplify things by calling Meiyappan an “enthusiast.” More »

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

No way back for Pietersen: ECB

Kevin Pietersen's hopes of reviving his international career appeared to end Saturday when ECB managing director Paul Downton said there was 'no way back'… More »

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

Srinivasan can attend BCCI meeting

His status as president of TNCA makes him eligible to attend the Working Committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Maxwell carves his parallel universe

Glenn Maxwell seems to project an icy disdain when at the crease. Match situations rarely faze him and the bubble in which he plays excludes everyone … More »

The world record that nearly wasn't

The world record that nearly wasn't

Twenty years ago this week, Brian Lara became Test cricket's highest scorer, but he almost didn't make it. More »

Moores gets second stint as coach

Moores gets second stint as coach

In a two-year spell from 2007 to 2009, the 51-year-old Moores led England in seven Test series. More »

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh senior players to see shrink

Bangladesh's senior players will have three sessions with a psychological skill development coach later this month More »

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

BCCI is not anybody’s property — Dalmiya

Dalmiya feels that Srinivasan’s ‘power hungry’ attitude isn’t helping matters. More »

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

Tough for bowlers: Saeed Ajmal

The 36-year-old believes the T20 format and rule changes in 50-over matches have made a real difference. More »

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

KP ridicules idea of day-night Tests

Kevin Pietersen has ridiculed the idea of day-night Test cricket, saying the game would be so different to proper Test cricket that we will need a whole… More »

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

Rajasthan edge low-scoring thriller

The bowlers restricted Hyderabad to 133 for 6 before Rahane and Binny took Rajasthan over the line. More »

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

Maxwell blitz takes Punjab home

The Kings XI batsman blasted a 43-ball 95 to help his team pull off a massive chase against Chennai Super Kings. More »

BCCI members want independent probe

BCCI members want independent probe

The board members are realising after the Supreme Court's observations that something has to be done — IS Bindra More »

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

'BCCI lacks leaders to take on Srini'

Two former BCCI presidents, Shashank Manohar and Jagmohan Dalmiya, have reacted strongly to the news of the BCCI calling an emergent meeting on Sunday… More »

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata

Preview — The threat of Sunil Narine looms large again. More »

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Bangalore vs Mumbai: A battle of the big-hitters

Preview — Given the firepower in both line-ups, Dubai crowd may see another high-scorer More »

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj tees off to Sharjah's delight

Yuvraj Singh was hardly convincing to begin with against Delhi, but a big dose of crowd support and a helping of poor bowling meant he had the opportunity… More »