Independent MLA joins Congress, to take on Anurag Thakur from Hamirpur in LS polls
Shimla: Independent MLA from Sujanpur segment Rajinder Singh Rana on Friday resigned from the Assembly to join Congress and will take on sitting BJP MP Anurag Thakur, son of former Chief Minister P K Dhumal, in Hamirpur.
Congress has announced its candidates for three of Himachal Pradesh`s four Lok Sabha constituencies - Shimla, Kangra, Mandi and Hamirpur. The candidature of Rana from the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat is likely to be announced soon.
Rana reached here from Delhi this morning and tendered his resignation to Assembly Speaker B B L Butail, who accepted it. Later Rana, who is an associate member of Congress Legislature Party, formally joined the party.
Party sources said Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president Sukhvinder Singh Sukkhu, who had lost the 2012 Assembly polls from Nadaun constituency, was not in favour of Rana`s candidature and was promoting Industries Minister Mukesh.
However, Agnihotri was not keen on contesting the Lok Sabha polls and there was no other potential candidate from the seat, considered to be a stronghold of BJP. It won the Hamirpur seat eight times since 1989, including two bypolls in 2007 and 2008, and lost only once in 1996.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said best candidates have been selected from all four seats, and Rana is essentially the strongest candidate to take on BJP in Hamirpur.
Rana was once very close to Dhumal but later they fell out and he contested the elections from the Sujanpur Assembly seat as Independent and won.
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