Mastram Dalel (cover story)
Result of Bhoranj bye-election has provided a boost to the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of general assembly elections due in Himachal later this year. It is another matter that position of ruling and opposition parties remain the same in assembly. The seat had fallen vacant after the demise of former BJP minister and sitting MLA ID Dhiman who had won this seat for six consecutive terms. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh had already stated that bye-election result will have no impact on the political scenario of Himachal.
BJP Retains Its Bastion
The Bharatiya Janata Party has retained its bastion in Bhoranj as its candidate Anil Dhiman defeated his nearest rival Promila Devi of Congress by a margin of 8,290 voes. The party has won this seat for a record seventh time in a row. Late ID Dhiman had represented Bhoranj for six terms and now his son Anil Dhiman has won in bye-election. The party’s rebel candidate Pawan Kumar, who was opposing dynasty politics, could not save his deposit as he got only 4630 votes out of a total of 46848 votes polled. Anil Dhiman got 24,434 and Congress’s Promila Devi got 16144 votes. Independent candidates included Pawan Kumar, Ramesh Dogra (974 votes) and Kusum Azad (403 votes). Bhoranj is considered to be the stronghold of the BJP as the party has got lead ten times in Lok Sabha polls and seven times in assembly elections from here.
263 Prefer NOTA
Nearly half percent voters in Bhoranj did not like any of the candidates I bye-election as 263 voters pressed None of the Above (NOTA) option. The BJP got more than 52% votes as compared to Congress’s 34.46 votes of the total votes polled.
Candidate Votes Percentage
Anil Dhiman 24,434 52.16
Promila Devi 16,144 34.46
Pawan Kumar 4,630 9.88
Ramesh Dogra 974 2.08
Kusum Azad 403 .86
NOTA 263 .56
Bhoranj Prefers Dynasty Politics
Considered to be bastion of the Bharatiya Janata Party for past nearly three decades, the party has once again retained this assembly segment in bye-elections held on April 9. The seat had fallen vacant after the demise of former BJP minister and sitting MLA ID Dhiman. The party fielded his son Anil Dhiman in the bye-election whose nearest rival was Congress party’s candidate Promila Devi. Three other candidates Pawan Kumar, Ramesh Chand Dogra and Kusum Azad were also in the fray. The BJP supporters were upbeat as party candidate maintained lead from first and second rounds of the counting of votes. Celebrations broke out as BJP candidate consolidated his lead over Congress candidate. Victorious BJP candidate Anil Dhiman credited victory to Modi wave and charisma of Prem Kumar Dhumal.
* Bhoranj bye-election result is people’s mandate for the government and Chief Minister should dissolve the assembly and hold general assembly elections
-Prem Kumar Dhumal, Leader of Opposition
* People have hit at mafia raj in Bhoranj bye-election and this caravan will stop in Shimla after accomplishing Mission 50 Plus. People want a change in Himachal
-Satpal Satti, State BJP President
* Bhoranj bye-election result is just a trailer of the upcoming general assembly elections due in Himachal later this year
-Dr. Rajeev Bindal, State BJP Chief Spokesperson
* The BJP should not remain under illusion after Bhoranj bye-election result as it is not a mandate for general assembly elections. The Congress is set to repeat its government
-Virbhadra Singh, Chief Minister
From Editor-in-Chief’s Desk
The Bhoranj Bye-election victory has certainly given a boost to the Bharatiya Janata Party even as the situation of parties remains the same in Himachal Assembly. The Congress will have to introspect even as there will not be credit sharing in the BJP. Image of the government has received a dent if Bhoranj bye-election is analysed in the backdrop of Congress’s ‘Mission Repeat’. The bye-election reflects both the preparation of government and also party’s organisational situation. It also reflected Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president’s image as bye-election was held in his district. The Congress could not save itself despite efforts and the dynasty politics has been strengthened within the BJP. The party won in Bhoranj due to charisma of Late ID Dhiman and dominance of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. This victory should not be read in the backdrop of Modi wave and should be analysed in the context of local permutations. Local sentiments, combinations and political analysis needs to be understood after this result until next assembly elections in Himachal. The Bhoranj bye-election again ensured BJP’s victory but has not uprooted the Congress. Every aspect of the victory focused on local issues without bothering to know what the country is thinking about Modi. The BJP must visualise this hint carefully as Himachali voters are taking decision while keeping its conscious unaffected. Anti Congress waves were not so strong in Bhoranj to decimate party’s candidate. The Congress’s loss in addition to its defeat is related to its existence as the party could not take off on its own despite having a face in every district. The weakness of party’s organisation came to the fore even as ministers and MLAs campaigned extensively in Bhoranj following early adjournment of budget session. Bhoranj bye-election was not a mystery and BJP’s victory could be understood as people’s tribute towards late ID Dhiman. But we can understand the meaning of celebrations by linking it with the prestige of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal in the run up to the leadership issue. It is another matter that dynasty politics is still getting preference in the BJP and there needs to be some principled decisions while selecting candidates for next elections in this hilly state. The BJP needs to understand local leadership and aspirations and not bank solely on Modi wave in Himachal.
Leader of Opposition Prem Kumar Dhumal along with victorious BJP candidate Anil Dhiman after the result.
April 15th, 2017