Shimla: After withholding the name of party candidate for Mandi Lok Sabha seat for four weeks, the BJP finally decided to field state general secretary, Ram Swaroop Sharma to contest against sitting Congress MP, Pratibha Singh, wife of chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
The BJP had declared the candidates for Kangra, Hamirpur and Shimla Reserve constituencies last month.
It tried to bring Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) president Maheshwar Singh, a three-time MP from Mandi back into the party and field him from Mandi but he turned down the offer and announced to oppose both BJP and Congress and support Aam Admi Party (AAP).
Sharma, an RSS worker, has been active in the organisation for past three decades but a new entrant to electoral politics.
"It is a fight between an ordinary party worker and a Raja, who happens to be six-time chief minister but people, would defeat Congress which has done nothing for Mandi", Sharma said.
Referring to the victory of Congress candidate Pratibha Singh by a huge margin in Mandi Lok Sabha by-election last year, Sharma alleged, it was a by-election in which Congress had "misused" official machinery and money but this time it is a general election and the state and the BJP would wrest the seat from Congress.
For BJP, the choice fell on Sharma as there was no potential candidate to take on Pratibha, who is seeking re-election from this seat, and the party has tried to send a message that it banked on its cadre and rewarded them.
Sharma said the corruption charges against Virbhadra and his family members, non-performance of party MPs during past one year and dissidence in Congress would help the BJP.
Hailing from Jogindernagar in Mandi, 55-year old, Sharma has been a silent worker. He remained an organising secretary of Mandi district BJP and later of the state BJP and also served as a Vice Chairman of the State Food and Civil Supplies Corporation.
He had left his job as a Welfare Supervisor in the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) in 1984 to join RSS and has also been an active trade unionist.