HP polls: Sujanpur gets star status as BJP CM face takes on mentee

HP polls: Sujanpur gets star status as BJP CM face takes on mentee

Besides providing an interesting contest between a political disciple and his master, Sujanpur Assembly constituency is in the spotlight as it could become a VIP seat should the lotus bloom.

Two-time Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister and four-time MLA Prem Kumar Dhumal was noticeably lackluster in the early stages of the campaign in Sujanpur, a constituency he never picked to fight the polls.

Dhumal was confronting more questions than he could possibly find answers for, as BJP appeared to bucked the long-standing trend of declaring him the Chief Ministerial candidate with the possibility of airdropping Union Health Minister JP Nadda on the Cm chair post the elections.

At a well-attended rally in Sujanpur recently, Dhumal was trying hard to put a brave face, seemingly not without the thought of under-selling himself despite the evident public support.

Everything, however, changed on Tuesday as BJP ended the suspense and projected Dhumal as its potential Chief Ministerial face. The 73-year-old former professor now moves into Sujanpur with an evident vigour.

The excitement in the constituency has also got to do with the rivalry of a "mentor" and his "loyal disciple", as Congress candidate Rajinder Rana was Dhumal's one-time pupil. It was indeed Dhumal who introduced Rana to politics a long time ago.

Both the candidates conduct a hostile campaign in the villages, as their rampant speeches reveal no hint of their past relationship.

Rana was a media advisor in the BJP government under Dhumal's leadership. The two fell out; following which Rana won the 2012 elections from Sujanpur as an independent candidate. The Congress wooed him to its ranks and has fielded him in the same constituency this time.

Though Dhumal's knowledge of the state is deeper, Rana is familiar with the constituency as its sitting representative. The former Chief Minister has shifted from the constituency of Hamirpur, which falls into the Lok Sabha seat represented by his son Anurag Thakur.

Rana highlights the work he has done for the constituency, but the father-son duo is out to rubbish the rival and the Congress party.

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