Himachal BJP to finalise Modi's public rallies

Shimla, Sep 22 (IANS) BJP president Rajnath Singh will meet top leaders of Himachal Pradesh unit in Chandigarh Monday to finalise dates for public rallies by the party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, a leader said here Sunday.

The agenda of the meeting is to chalk out a strategy for the ensuing Lok Sabha elections, and fix the venues and dates for rallies to be addressed by Modi, BJP spokesperson Ganesh Dutt told IANS.

The first rally is likely to be held in Kangra, the largest district of the state with 15 assembly constituencies, in mid-November, a leader said.

Besides arrangements for rallies, the meeting is also likely to mull over possible candidates for the four Lok Sabha seats from the state.

All senior leaders, including former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, Rajya Sabha member Shanta Kumar, state party chief Satpal Satti, state in-charge Balbir Punj, national secretaries Ram Lal and J.P. Nadda are likely to attend the meeting.

Sources said the party might field its two heavyweights -- Dhumal and Shanta Kumar -- from Hamirpur and Kangra constituencies, respectively.

Currently, Dhumal's son Anurag Thakur is MP from Hamirpur; the BJP's other MP, Rajan Sushant, representing Kangra, was suspended from the party for indiscipline.

From Shimla, sitting BJP MP Virender Kashyap is likely to be fielded again, while legislator Jai Ram Thakur is likely to contest again from Mandi.

In the June parliamentary by-election, the state ruling Congress party retained the Mandi Lok Sabha seat with a handsome margin.

"This time, it will be a tough fight for the BJP to retain the Lok Sabha seats, as just nine months back the Congress party wrested power from the BJP in the state," said a political observer.

Moreover, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who is at the helm of government for the sixth time, has been repeatedly cornering former chief minister Dhumal and his MP son Anurag Thakur over alleged misdeeds done during the BJP's term in office.


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