Bahra University

Shimla: Even as talks and speculations are on, for party tickets to the bye-elections for Mandi parliamentary and three Assembly segments, Congress is likely to field former Member of Parliament Pratibha Singh from Arki seat.

The three-assembly bye-polls include Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal-Kotkhai are scheduled to be held in the coming months.

The Arki seat had been held by veteran Congress leader and six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.

The seat had fallen vacant after the demise of Singh, owing to post Covid complications.

Congress party in no way wants to lose the Arki seat won by Singh and had been BJP’s stronghold for two decades before, Singh had decided to contest the elections in 2017.

Congress can bank on the sympathy factor by giving the ticket to Virbhadra Singh’s wife, Pratibha Singh which they consider as a safer bet considering the clout and power that Singh, the tallest leader in the party had wielded.

While the call will soon be taken by the High Command, however the poll strategist in the State Congress is said to have zeroed down on Pratibha Singh to contest the elections on Arki seat and the future course of action will depend on the will of Pratibha Singh.

She is not new to politics, Pratibha Singh has won the seat twice from Mandi parliamentary constituency in 2004 and 2013.

In 2013 she had defeated Jai Ram Thakur from the seat.

However, this time the Congress would not like to take the chance of fielding Pratibha Singh from Mandi again, as Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur will leave no stone unturned to retain the seat considering it a prestige issue to retain the seat, that had been won by BJP in 2019.

The seat had fallen vacant after the demise of two-time MP Ram Swaroop Sharma, who was considered a close aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

15 august 2021