Shimla, July 25
The BJP is in damage control mode to prevent further defections. Former minister Ravinder Ravi has announced that he will contest the next assembly elections from the Sulah or Dehra seats in Kangra even if the party denies him the ticket.
Shocked by Dehra MLA’s induction into BJP
- There is speculation that five-time MP Ravinder Ravi could join Congress
- Ravi, a die-hard Dhumal loyalist, is unhappy with Hoshiar Singh’s induction into the BJP
- He lost the 2017 election to Hoshiar Singh of Dehra
The BJP appears to have put the spade among the pigeons by inducting Dehra Independent MP Hoshiar Singh into the party. Hoshiar Singh’s enthronement has created unease in the Dehra bloc party, fueling speculation that five-time MP Ravi might even join Congress.
Forestry Minister Rakesh Pathania held a meeting of Dehra bloc leaders yesterday to appease Ravi and persuade him not to rush into any decision. “The main purpose of the meeting was to appease Ravi and get feedback from party bosses and workers on a possible arrangement so that there is no rebellion over ticket allocation,” said a senior official.
Interestingly, besides Hoshiar Singh, Ravi as well as MP Jwalamukhi Ramesh Dhawala attended the meeting. A large number of Dehra leaders objected to Hoshiar Singh’s presence at the meeting. Ravi’s Congress membership could disrupt the ground for the BJP not only in Dehra but also in Sulah, Jwalamukhi and Palampur constituencies.
The BJP is seeking an amicable solution to avoid unrest in the Dehra bloc, created due to the enthronement of Hoshiar Singh. The party is considering all options including fielding Ravi from Jwalamukhi and Dhawala from Dehra. However, Ravi is keen to contest Sulah’s election, as much of his Thural constituency was merged into it. Vidhan Sabha chairman Vipin Parmar represents Sulah constituency, so adjusting Ravi there may cause problems again.
Ravi, a loyal Dhumal devotee, made it clear that he was in no mood to back down. There is speculation that he could join Congress. Former BJP chairman Khimi Ram from Banjar in Kullu district and Indu Verma, a former member of Zila Parsihad and wife of three-time BJP MP Rakesh Verma from Theog in Shimla, have already joined the Congress.
Ravi had won Assembly elections consecutively in 1993, 1998, 2003, 2007 and 2012. However, he lost the 2017 elections to Hoshiar Singh from Dehra seat where he was moved after his Assembly segment of Thural was merged with the seats of Sulah, Jwalamukhi and Dehra. in the delimitation exercise in 2012. The number of Assembly segments in Kangra district increased from 16 to 15.
Ravi is unhappy with Hoshiar Singh’s closeness to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his induction into the party. However, the situation in Jogindernagar in Mandi is not so volatile after independent MP Prakash Rana joined the BJP.