Hamirpur (HP): The Sujanpur Tira assembly seat in Hamirpur district of Himachal is a prestige contest for both the ruling BJP and Congress.
Rajendra Rana, the sitting MLA who is also the working President of the Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee, is locked in a multi-corner contest but mainly with Captain Ranjit Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Singh was fielded by the BJP after former Chief Minister PK Dhumal gave up the seat and recommended the name of the army officer to the party high command.
There was a time when Dhumal and Rana were considered to be closest friends and their friendship was well known in the region. However, later on, they fell apart over politics and now are each other’s toughest adversaries.
In the 2017 polls, Rana defeated Dhumal by a margin of 1,919 votes. Rana secured 25,288 votes against 23,369 of Dhumal’s.
As Dhumal did not give on political rounds in the constituency despite the defeat five years back, there were reports that the former CM will be the party candidate this time as well.
However, once he said no to elections, the situation took an interesting turn and Captain Ranjit Singh, a Zila Parishad member of the Sujanpur area was named as the party candidate.
There are 75,396 electorates in the constituency which was earlier known as “The Andaman of Himachal Pradesh”.
There are 104 polling stations in the constituency where voting will take place on November 12.
The contest in Sujanpur is interesting as both sides claim to be pro-soldiers.
While the Congress candidate says he has done a lot for the serving soldiers, ex-servicemen, and their families, the BJP camp says that the party has aced it all by fielding a retired army officer who served at the borders and took part in many battles.
Suresh Kumar Singh, a BJP worker told UNI that the party will secure maximum votes of the soldiers and their families. He said it was the first time a soldier has been given ticket from the seat.
The entire Dhumal family — the former chief minister, his two sons — Union Information-cum-Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, and Chairman of Indian Premier League Arun Dhumal — has come out in open support canvassing in the field for Captain Singh. Dhumal’s kin it appears wants to avenge his 2017 defeat.
A visit to the constituency revealed voters are tight-lipped about their plans. They don’t want to annoy either party as they too want to see who manages to reach the Vidhan Sabha.
Locals though agrees that both Dhumal and Rana have contributed to the development of the area. So, the situation remains 50:50.
They also said that by quitting electoral politics and deputing a retired army officer as the BJP nominee from the seat, Dhumal has played a shrewd game that has baffled the Congress.
On other hand, Rana is confident of a clean sweep. He told UNI that he is not bothered about who the BJP nominee is, and who his supporters are. “I had done a lot for the people and they love me for my work and will vote for me without any political consideration.”
Captain Ranjit Singh is grateful as his campaigning is managed by Dhumal’s family and he feels secured.
“Moreover, I’m an ex-serviceman in a constituency with majority voters from the force and they are all set to send their colleague to the Vidhan Sabha to take up their issues with the state government and to get them solved,” Singh said.
Arun Dhumal, the younger son of Dhumal said “The success of Captain Ranjit Singh is written on the wall and the people of the area are all set to take avenge the 2017 defeat of Dhumalji.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Sujanpur Tira on November 9 to seek votes for party candidates in the state.