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‘Anurag Thakur can win only because of Congress ’

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New Delhi, May 17: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Hamirpur Lok Sabha in Himachal Pradesh can win the election only because of the Congress, claims a Shimla-based source.

Hamirpur is one the four seats of the state that will vote in the seventh and final phase on Sunday. The other seats are: Shimla, Mandi, and Kangra parliamentary constituencies. The BJP had won all the four seats in 2014.

Anurag Thakur

The BJP has fielded its three-time MP Anurag Thakur from Hamirpur. He is the son of former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. According to the source, the seat has become a survival battle for the father-son duo as there has been strong anti-incumbency against the sitting MP.

"If Anurag wins the Lok Sabha election for the fourth time in a row then he will become very powerful in the state politics and could become a strong contender for the post of Chief Minister in the next Assembly elections. Therefore, it's obvious that Chief Minister Jai Ram and Union Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda won't put their weight behind Anurag. The amount of anti-incumbency against him is so much that even the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi can't ensure his victory. He can only win because of the factionalism in the Congress, " says the source.

Congress has pitted five-time MLA and former Minister Ram Lal Thakur against Anurag.

"Ram Lal Thakur has not got the full support from the local Congress leaders. For example, the faction led by former Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee President Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has been covertly working to defeat the Congress candidate. This infighting may become a boon for Anurag Thakur, " asserts the source.

[Water, jobs among top priorities of Himachal voters]

The BJP is fighting to retain all the seats and all the candidates have been seeking votes in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress on the other hand is highlighting local issues and questioning the performance of the BJP-led state government.

According to another source in Delhi, Congress is not pinning hopes on any seat except Shimla as the party is fighting the elections with the severe lack of funds.

"There was a demand of Rs. 5000 per booth from the state but Rs. 1000 per booth was provided. The frontal organisations of the Congress like Youth Congress, Mahila Congress and Seva Dal are not participating in the elections with full force due the fund shortage," says a source.

[In Himachal Pradesh, it's Sharma vs. Sharma to capture Mandi]

The Congress has fielded two-time MP Dhani Ram Shandil from Shimla. Considering the importance of the seat, the BJP replaced its two-time MP Virender Kashyap and gave the ticket to party MLA Suresh Kashyap.

Both the contenders are from the Army background and belong to Koli (SC) community.

It's notable that Rahul Gandhi addressed a rally in Solan on Friday in support of Shandil.

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