Triangular contest at Chamba; BJP looks to profit from Cong’s rebel woes

The Chamba Assembly constituency, dominated by a rural population, is expected to witness a triangular contest in the November 4 Assembly polls. The sitting MLA from the BJP, Bal Krishnan Chauhan, who beat the Congress' Pawan Nayyar by 8,500 votes in the 2007 polls, is in a strong position again.

What should aid Chauhan is the presence of the Congress rebel Raj Singh in the poll fray.

With the opposition party deciding to field Nayyar this time as well, Singh has filed his nomination as an Independent. The decision to go with Nayyar was taken after former Congress minister and three-time Chamba MLA ( 1993, 1998, 2003) Harsh Mahajan decided not to contest again. Mahajan had defeated B K Chauhan by a significant margin in the 2003 Assembly polls.

In all, there are nine candidates here, including four Independents, prominent among whom is Chamba Mayor Anita Thakur.

The constituency covers the areas of Sach pass, Gudiyal, Uteep, Luddu, Rajera, Janghi of Panjla and Chamba Municipal Council of Chamba tehsil. Of the 66,000 voters, nearly 70 per cent (46,000) belong to the rural areas.

This is another factor that works in the favour of the BJP candidate and sitting MLA. Chauhan belongs to the Gaddi community, which dominates the rural population in the constituency. Considered a loyalist of senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar, B K Chauhan is actively campaigning in the rural areas of Chamba these days. "The Congress is crippled by infighting. The party's rebel candidate Raj Singh is definitely going to make an impact on the Congress' vote bank. BJP has done ample amount of work in the constituency in the last five years. Also, Virbhadra Singh's perception in people's minds has changed. Charges have already been framed against Virbhadra Singh and now latest scandals about his properties, incomes are also based on documentary evidences. This will definitely dent the Congress' image, not only in Chamba, but in the entire state," Chauhan says.

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