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HomePoliticsCongress Vying for 4-0 Win in Himachal Pradesh: Anand Sharma

Congress Vying for 4-0 Win in Himachal Pradesh: Anand Sharma

The Congress sends shockwaves in Himachal Pradesh as Anand Sharma embarks on decimating the BJP’s stronghold in Kangra Lok Sabha constituency

In a bold and unexpected maneuver, the Congress has thrown its weight behind Anand Sharma, a seasoned leader and pivotal figure in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and the former Minister of Commerce and Industry of India during UPA II, to spearhead its campaign for the Kangra Lok Sabha constituency in Himachal Pradesh. This marks Sharma’s inaugural foray into the cutthroat realm of Lok Sabha elections, having previously clashed in the fierce battlegrounds of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls in 1982, where he valiantly contested but fell short against the BJP’s Daulat Ram Chauhan from Shimla.

Despite initial reservations, Sharma dutifully rallied behind the party banner before the crucial 2022 Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh. His political pedigree speaks volumes, having commanded the corridors of power in the Rajya Sabha for an impressive four terms since his initial coronation in April 1984. A seasoned stalwart of the UPA era, Sharma held sway as a ministerial luminary and stalwart deputy leader of the Congress in the Rajya Sabha until his honorable retirement in 2022.

The audacious move to anoint Sharma as the torchbearer of Congress for the Kangra constituency follows his recent sparring with All India Congress Committee (AICC) chief Mallikarjun Kharge. Sharma vehemently voiced disquiet over the party’s jarring pivot towards aggressive identity politics, straying alarmingly from its hallowed traditions. His discontentment was palpable when the Congress party overlooked his candidacy in the recent Rajya Sabha bout, instead favoring an outsider, Abhishek Singhvi, whose ignominious defeat served as a bitter pill to swallow.

Sharma now finds himself locked in a fierce showdown against BJP juggernaut Rajiv Bhardwaj, the formidable state vice president, as he seeks to wrest control of the Kangra throne from the incumbent MP Kishan Kapoor. Inside sources reveal Sharma’s deep-rooted alliances with a vast majority of party MLAs entrenched in the Kangra parliamentary stronghold. Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu‘s impassioned endorsement of Sharma’s candidacy to the party’s upper echelons was undoubtedly swayed by Sharma’s illustrious Brahmin lineage.

His nomination has sent shockwaves rippling through political circles, defying expectations in light of his association with the renegade G-23 faction and his recent scathing rebuke of the party’s strategic missteps.

In an electrifying tête-à-tête with senior journalist Ravindra Ojha, representing The Interview World, Anand Sharma bristled with unyielding resolve, poised to embrace the crucible of the Kangra electoral battlefield head-on. Here are the key takeaways from his insightful interview.

Q: How do you plan to approach the challenge of contesting your inaugural Lok Sabha election in Kangra?

A: Emerging from the heartland of Himachal Pradesh, my political journey resonates with the unwavering endorsement of its people. Today, as the party’s resolute choice, I eagerly embrace this mantle of responsibility. Kangra’s terrain, etched in my memory through countless ventures, feels akin to a second home.

My prior stint as a union minister underscores my steadfast commitment to the state’s prosperity. Now, as I heed the rallying cry of my constituents, I confront Kangra’s challenges head-on with unyielding determination. Fortified by indomitable connections within the community, I stand ready to champion their needs and aspirations with unwavering resolve.

Q: How do you respond to the BJP’s claim that you have spent minimal time in Himachal Pradesh since your candidacy was announced?

A: The BJP’s narrow-mindedness is glaring, evident in their disregard for regional identities. With JP Nadda, hailing from my state, now helming the party nationally, their provincial outlook is undeniable. Nadda’s extensive travels across the nation only highlight the party’s reluctance to embrace diversity. The irony hits hard when considering the Prime Minister’s Gujarat origins. Congress’s failure to challenge this hypocrisy calls into question their commitment to ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’. By confining individuals like myself, born in Shimla, to narrow boundaries, they betray their principles.

I couldn’t care less about the BJP’s validation of my Himachali roots. Should they dare to challenge me, I stand ready to prove my mettle on any battleground. As the shadow of defeat looms ever closer, BJP leaders’ resort to increasingly desperate measures. Despite their cacophony, my resolve remains unshaken and unwavering.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Congress high command showing confidence in you despite your critical stance?

A: I am an unyielding advocate for internal democracy within our party, and my recent elevation to the Congress Working Committee reaffirms this commitment emphatically. Embracing expanded duties, I have unwaveringly championed our party’s core ideology and leadership without hesitation or reservation. Any dissent voiced is not a challenge but a constructive critique aimed at fortifying our party’s integrity and effectiveness.

My allegiance to the Congress is unwavering, and I vow to champion Kangra’s interests passionately as a testament to this loyalty. Mark my words: Congress will not only emerge victorious but will dominate with an unquestionable 4-0 triumph in the forthcoming Himachal Pradesh elections.

Q: How do you perceive the assertion made by PM Modi and the BJP regarding securing over 400 seats in this election?

A: In the cutthroat arena of political strategy, each move is a calculated bid to control the narrative. The BJP’s once-mighty empire, which peaked in 2019, now crumbles under the weight of its hubris. The initial election phases scream a dire warning to the Modi regime. From Uttar Pradesh to Uttarakhand, the BJP’s grip weakens, its power eroded in states once considered strongholds. To anticipate a resurgence akin to the 400-seat conquest is not just unrealistic but utterly preposterous. The notion reeks of delusion, a desperate grasp at a faded glory now lost to the annals of time.

Q: How would you identify the primary concern driving this election?

A: In a climate charged with fervent political rhetoric, BJP leaders boldly assert the immediate termination of caste-based reservations. Anant Hegde, Jyoti Mirdha, Lallu Singh, and the BJP’s iconic figure, Arun Govil, fervidly championed a campaign promise: to secure an overwhelming majority and swiftly enact constitutional amendments. The conspicuous silence of senior saffron stalwarts resonates with implicit endorsement.

As the 2024 elections unfold, they transcend mere routine, casting a menacing shadow over the very fabric of democracy, secularism, and individual liberties. These elections stand not as routine political exercises but as a pivotal battleground demanding an unyielding defense of democratic principles, constitutional integrity, and the sanctity of secularism. The electorate faces a stark, uncompromising choice: to perpetuate the status quo under the Modi government or to vehemently defend the enduring legacy of Ambedkar’s constitutional framework.

Congress Steers Political Onslaught in Himachal Pradesh to Crush the BJP's Manoeuvres
Congress Steers Political Onslaught in Himachal Pradesh to Crush the BJP’s Manoeuvres
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