By: Hema D
Shimla: In her first interaction with the media in Shimla after declaration of election tickets, Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Viplove Thakur said today that the Congress will woo disgruntled ticket seekers with a promise of some posts, after elections.
“Dissidence of some candidates after announcement of tickets was expected and is not new. The Congress will reach out to them and we will give them some position in the mainstream (party) after government formation.” However she refused to reveal the course of action in case the dissidents decided to contest as independent candidates. “We will cross the bridge when we come to it”, she quipped.
Reacting to allegations that in order to ensure ticket for her brother Manu Sharma from Jaswan, she compromised on tickets of sitting MLA, Thakur said the tickets have been strictly allotted on the basis of their ability to win.
She strongly defended allotment of tickets to relatives of party members and said, “Of the 65 candidates, only three are relatives of party men which is not a large number and they have been brought up in a political environment. They have been a part of party activities and campaigns since childhood and are not new to politics.” Including her brother Manu Sharma, Sukh Ram’s son Anil Sharma from Mandi (Sadar), Chander Kumar’s son Neeraj Bharti from Guler and Sat Mahajan’s son Ajay Mahajan from Nurpur, are in the list of relatives of influential leaders who got the tickets. Interestingly, the candidates Nand Lal, a SPG guard who has replaced cabinet minister Singhi Ram (Rampur) and Prakash Karad son of Gandhi Family’s chef who has replaced Deputy Speaker Dharam Pal Thakur (Arki) have been rewarded for their service to the Gandhi family.
She refused to divulge the Congress’s Chief Ministerial candidate. She said that though BJP has projected Dhumal as the CM, the Congress will go to polls under the leadership of present CM, Virbhadra Singh. “And as per the Congress’ tradition, the decision of next CM will be taken only after consultation with MLAs, post election.”
Thakur said that the party has fulfilled the promises mentioned in the last manifesto and the manifesto for this election would be released soon. “Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Digvijay Singh, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Sheila Dixit and off course Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would be campaigning in Himachal between December 11 and 15 for the party,” she said.