Dharamsala: After clearing Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister`s wife Pratibha Singh`s name for the Mandi Lok Sabha by-election, Congress today said the party is not taking the poll lightly and wishes to show its strength in the state.
State Urban Development Minister Sudhir Sharma said here that the outcome of this election shall be the curtain raiser for next year`s general elections in the country.
The margin of win shall show upward trend of popularity graph of the Congress party, he said.
The name of Pratibha was announced yesterday by Congress who would file her nomination on May 30 while BJP`s Jairam Thakur on June 1.
The Maheshwar Singh factor will not play a major role in this election, as this local leader has stated to be neutral, Sharma said.
"When Maheshwar Singh was in BJP, he won this seat in 1989, 1998 and 1999. Now the Raja of the area Maheshwar has raised his own political party Himachal Lokhit Party, and is the lone MLA of the party in the current Vidhan Sabha," he said.
"Pratibha won this seat in 2004 after defeating Maheshwar Singh," he said.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was the MP from Mandi in the present Lok Sabha before he resigned, after assuming the office of Chief Minister.
The Mandi by-election will be held on June 23.