Himachal bypolls a test for CM but Congress only helping BJP

Shimla: The BJP had a comfortable win in Himachal in the last Lok Sabha elections with landslide 69.11 per cent vote share. Now, with two upcoming Assembly bypolls in the state, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur is hoping to clear a popularity test of sorts just ahead of his government’s second anniversary. It helps that the Congress, after its decimation in the Lok Sabha elections, is not posing much of a challenge.

The two seats, Pacchad in Sirmaur and Dharamsala in Kangra, had fallen vacant after MLAs Suresh Kashyap and Krishan Kapoor got elected to the Lok Sabha from Shimla (Reserve) and Kangra seats.

With the Congress still in the doldrums, the BJP is not expecting much of a challenge this time. The opposition party is passing a bad phase with internal squabbles and a leadership crisis even as its base erodes across the state.

However, BJP too has some internal issu

es of its own. For instance, there has been an open rebellion in Pachhad over the party’s choice of candidate. While Thakur, along with IPH minister Mohinder Singh, were able to mollify Ashish Sikta, a former AVBP activist, former Zila Parishad member Dayal Pyari is contesting as an independent. She is being seen as a threat to BJP’s new face Reena Kashyap.