BJP wants to wrest Rampur seat, a Cong bastion

Shimla: Ex-SPG Commando of AICC leader Sonia Gandhi, Nand Lal (68) who is in fray for fourth terms on this Congress bastion at Rampur (reserve) being targeted by the BJP to wrestle or make inroad in Shimla district after successfully grip on the Chopal.
BJP pitted a 37 years old greenhorn who is considered outsider Kaul Negi replacing Prem Chand Drek from this seat. There is BJP rebel Visheshar Lal in the fray beside three other candidates including APP and PSP candidate. Being the home turf of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and Pratibha Singh, Congress victory on the seat was almost certain. BJP wanted to encroach in its bastion by tilting the vote bank equation to its favor and taking traction from the unmissable. Nand Lal after retirement from SPG and relieving as Security commando of Sonia Gandhi, he was rewarded for his service by AICC opting him as party candidate in Assembly 2007 and won by difference of 7470 votes, he was reelected in 2012 in 2012 and 2017 by margin of 9471 and 4137 votes. Prem Kumar Dhumal, a BJP star campaigner said that party could not win this seat from 1979 to 1982 as Janata party Ninju Ram was once elected on this seat. BJP could not make inroad in Rampur from 1982 to 2007 as Virbhadra Singh’s loyalist Singhi Ram retained this seat. Despite Virbhadra’s Singh support for Singhi Ram he was replaced by AICC leader Sonia Gandhi in 2007 as she gave tickets to two SPG commandos Mr. Lal at Rampur and Prakash Karad from Arki. Former chairman of Kailash Federation Mr. Brij Lal who is state executive memberns said that BJP candidates entered the fray from Rampur in the capacity of ABVP activists at Degree College Rampur where he was elected SCA president. Negi is treated as outsiders and a complaint is also filed by former party rebel Prem Singh Drek against BJP candidate for taking double benefits of caste and Scheduled Tribe reservations. An election petition was moved in the court but it was rejected that there is a speaking order on the taking of benefits of SC and ST to tribal candidates in which candidate could be eligible for SC or ST benefits according to his choice. Complaint said that Kaul Negi took ST benefits in Kinnuar district and he is in the fray in Rampur assembly which is reserved for SC candidates not for the ST. BJP suspended Prem Chand Drek for six years following these antiparty activities. Drek who had also made a claim for BJP tickets this time but the party opted for an outsider. IAS officer PC Drek fought the 2017 assembly election and lost by a margin of 4137 votes. Nand Lal facing incumbency for the last 15 years was facing opposition campaign of Singhi Ram, Brij Lal and BJP candidate Kaul Negi was facing opposition from PC Drek. Nand Lal is also facing a rebellion from the Congress Vishwar who may erode his vote banks. In the last leg of the campaign yesterday BJP tried to sway a huge voter base having around 6000 voters by playing trump card. BJP organized a public meeting of Uttarakhand based spiritual Guru cum BJP leader Satpal Maharaj who has a large following in some pockets of Rampur and Theog assembly on November 9. Jagat Prakesh Nadda, Chief Minister Jai Ram and Anurag Thakur campaigned in favour of Kaul Negi. Pratibha Singh and Vikramaditya Singh have been campaigning in favor of Nand Lal. There are 78200 voters in the Rampur assembly including 39799 male and 37274 female voters.(UNI)

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