Bahra University

Shimla: With the announcement of the candidature of Pratibha Singh wife of former six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, as the Congress face to contest Mandi Lok Sabha by-poll, the party is all set to play the sympathy card.

And this came within a few hours of the announcement of Pratibha Singh’s name as his MLA son, Vikramaditya Singh struck an emotional appeal, seeking votes in the name of tribute to his father, veteran Congress leader Virbhadra Singh on social media.

Virbhadra Singh a sitting MLA from Arki had passed away on July 8, due to post-Covid complications.

The Mandi parliamentary seat, the home constituency of Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur, once been Congress bastion and had been represented by Virbhadra Singh thrice 1971, 1980 and 2009.

The Congress party in an attempt to clinch Mandi seat from BJP is now betting on a sympathy card and even the high command is also well aware of the stature of Virbhadra Singh who ruled the hearts of the public and his passing away had a left lakhs of people across the state grieving.

The huge gathering that converged to pay him last respects in Shimla and especially his native place Rampur has left a huge mark on the minds of the people, as such a gathering despite Covid – 19 was the reflection of his immense popularity and unconditional love to the people had for him, even rising above political lines.

As Virbhadra Singh’s dominance in the Congress party can never be ignored, his name is being prominently being highlighted along with the name of Pratibha Singh on social media, which can promptly be relatable ‘Pratibha Virbhadra Singh’ and an emotional appeal can immediately be struck.

Vikramaditya Singh has posted on Facebook ‘Vote Nahi Shradhanjali’ (Vote to pay tributes) and has sought votes to pay tribute to the developmental works undertaken by Virbhadra Singh for the progress of the state and also to ensure that the unfinished tasks in Mandi parliamentary constituency are completed.

There is no denying the fact that sympathy and emotional card have played a significant role in the electoral history of Indian politics.

There have been occasions where it has been seen and proved that voters’ inclination changes even at the last moment and they have sided with the party having an emotional appeal.

However, it is now to be seen how the public responds considering the fact that the BJP will go all out leaving no stone unturned to win the seat, as it is the home turf of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and is also seen as a prestige issue for him.

And also the fact that the BJP had won the seat two times consecutively in 2014, 2019 and retaining the seat is all the more imperative keeping in mind that the state would be heading for Assembly elections next year and CM Jai Ram Thakur and his party is eying ‘mission repeat’ in 2022.

The BJP has still not announced their candidate and is stated to be in a fix on the candidature of a party face who can match and bail the party out of the current scenario.