Dharamsala Cong candidate change upsets Virbhadra
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He may have managed to get the lion's share of tickets for the Himachal Assembly elections scheduled early next month, but the "cold war" between PCC president Virbhadra Singh and the party high command in Delhi may escalate owing to the AICC's decision to replace its Dharamsala candidate and sitting MLA Sudhir Sharma with Manoj Kumar.
While Sharma has been told to contest from Jwalamukhi, Kumar, a young Gaddi leader got the ticket from Dharamsala after the intervention of Jodhpur Congress MP Chandresh Kumari, who had earlier been seeking tickets for herself and her son.
While Sharma was informally informed about the change, he had received any formal communication till late in the evening creating a suspense in the Congress, especially when Virbhadra is touring Kangra district.
"I am told Raja sahib (as Virbhadra is known in party circle) has been conveyed by AICC general secretary Oscar Fernandes and also Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit about retaining me from Dharamshala. I had already declined to shift to Jwalamukhi, where the party has fielded Sanjay Rattan and am still awaiting the final decision in writing," Sharma told The Indian Express over phone.
Meanwhile, during his rally at Kangra, Virbhadra attacked his detractors for "playing mischief in Delhi when he was in the midst of campaign."
"Those sitting in Delhi are busy in getting the tickets (of candidates chosen after serious debates and consultations, changed," he said.
Earlier, after the AICC announced its list of nominees, Sharma had shifted to a rented building at Dharamshala. His constituency, Baijnath, has been reserved for the Scheduled Caste candidates.
Initially he tried from Palampur, but the party decided to field former minister Brij Bihari Butail from there allotting Sharma the ticket for Dharamshala, a constituency represented by BJP minister and Gaddi leader Krishan Kapoor.
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