News of Manjeet Thakur as a Congress candidate has come as a blessing in disguise for KR Balnatah, the BJP candidate. Balnatah has fought election against Virbhadra Singh five times in the past and had lost each election. Though his vote share did increase in every election. This is a last chance for Balnatah to become a MLA as Rohru seat has been made reserved from the next elections. With BJP being the ruling party and Singh not being a direct or indirect candidate, it would be interesting to watch how voters will vote since Pratibha Singh has been denied a ticket. Will the ‘Raja’ still campaign for the Congress or will he be a mute spectator. In case the Congress loses this seat, it will be bad news for the Congress President, Kaul Singh. Congress has already lost 3 out of 4 parliamentary seats under his stewardship and seems to be on a sticky wicket on the other assembly seat in Jawali which was won by BJP the last time.
Past few months has not been kind to Virbhadra Singh. Firstly, he was not in the A team of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and later he was booked in the CD case along with his wife by the state vigilance department. Now the ticket for Rohru assembly seat has slipped from his hand. Singh had even started the election campaign at Rohru for his wife during his last visit. His son was now actively running the campaign. Rohru has been a traditional seat for Singh and he never lost an election from this seat. No one from the Congress till date had even forwarded their name as candidate when Singh used to fight election.
Things have slowly started turning from bad to worse for Singh. His detractors has been playing their cards behind the scene effectively. A host of leaders from the rival group were camping in Delhi and they persuaded the high command to look for a candidate outside the Rampur royal family. If the Congress looses this seat, it will be a major setback for Virbhadra too. To loose a seat where he had 68% vote share in the last election, a seat he represented five times, a foe he defeated five times and a seat which has been part of his erstwhile princely state of Bushehar, this will come as a blot on his political career. He has been well circled this time by his rivals within his party.
It is going to be a cliffhanger in Rohru!