Cong future in Kangra rests on young leaders


DW BUREAU / SHIMLA The Congress party, which lost two of its stalwarts like former Minister GS Bali and Sujan Singh Pathaniya with huge mass followings last year, relies on the shoulders of young leaders in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh to keep the party's flag high. Political observers believe that the youth leaders in the area have a great chance to fill up the gap and reap on the party's legacy in the area. They say that senior leaders of the party like former Minister Chandresh Kumari, Vipalv Thakur, Chandra Kumar, Brij Bihari Lal Butel, etc, have almost distanced themselves from the electoral politics. Former Minister Vijay Singh Mankotia left the Congress long ago. It's ironical that the Kangra district unit of the party had once produced leaders like Bihari Lal Butal, Sat Mahajan and Pandit Sant Ram, who donned the mantle of the Himachan Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) chief, has none on the key position of the state party unit to boast of as of now. The party lost its political clout in the state over the years and it's reflected in 2017 assembly elections when Congress managed to wrest only three out of 15 seats in Kangra district, which was once known to be the hub of party's power. It is believed that the party lost much of its mass support owing to infighting between senior leaders and growing factionalism in the state unit. Many power centres had cropped up in one of the most politically important districts for the Congress's power. Last year, former MLA from Nurpur Ajay Mahajan, who usually maintained a low profile, was elevated as the district unit president of the party. He strived to keep all party leaders and cadres together. Political observers say that there was no death of youth leaders in Congress in the district. Former minister Sudhir Sharma is among the youth lot, who is not only a towering Brahmin leader in the district, but also wield tremendous clout in Dharmshala, Shapur, Jaisinghpur, Baijnath and Joginder Nagar. Sudhir Sharma's stature in the party has grown further after the Congress's victory in the by-election for the Mandi Lok Sabha seat recently. Mishra was the in-charge of election war room and his strategies to wrest the seat from the BJP was hailed by many senior leaders also. / DW / (


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