Turf War Begins Ahead Of HP Elections

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By: Gopal Puri
Updated: 23 May, 2022 6:00 am IST
Rakesh Pathania and Ranbeer Singh Nikka

NURPUR (HP): The final battle for the ballot is still months away, but trouble seems to be brewing for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh ahead of the Assembly elections later this year.

With an aim to strengthen the party in Kangra district, BJP had awarded its outspoken leader from Nurpur, Rakesh Pathania, a cabinet berth during last year’s reshuffle. But Pathania appeared to have lost the plot on his own turf due to his indiscretions since becoming a cabinet minister.

However, another firebrand BJP leader Ranbeer Singh Nikka, who has been demanding the seat for himself, came out in the open to challenge Pathania on his home turf on Sunday.

Nikka, who was a former general secretary of the Nurpur BJP organizational district, staged a massive show of strength that saw more than 5000 people attending his Parivartan Rally as he once again staked his claim on the assembly seat. He also made it clear that if he fails to get a party ticket, he will contest the seat as an independent.

“If I win, I promise I won’t take a single penny of my salary. I will devote it to public welfare. Not only this, I will devote another 20% from all business entities for the welfare of my area,” Nikka announced as he made his intentions clear.

Interestingly, attempts to contact Pathania proved futile as his phone was switched off.

Kangra district is the political capital of Himachal Pradesh. BJP had made Rakesh Pathania as forest and sports minister aiming that he would strengthen the party in Kangra as well as Chamba district. That would have impacted 20 assembly segments.

Rakesh Sharma, in-charge of the organisational district of Nurpur said, “Assembly elections are coming up. Everybody ticket aspirants are making attempts to get the party ticket.”

Well-placed sources told The New Indian that right from the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur and state party president, general secretaries of the party kept a sharp eye on the rally as just months left for assembly elections in the state.

BJP state president Suresh Kashyap later confirmed the news. “We are reviewing the development taking place in Nurpur,” he told The New Indian.

Surely, the turf war has begun as Himachal Pradesh goes to poll this fall.

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