On the eve of last day for filing of nominations, Congress today decided to field Anita Rana, wife of former MLA Rajinder Singh Rana, for Sujanpur Assembly by-election.
Anita's candidature was backed by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbharda Singh and she was chosen over two other contenders -- Anita Verma, a former All India Mahila Congress president and two-time MLA, and Urmil Thakur, a two-time BJP MLA from Hamirpur who joined Congress last week.
Both Anita Verma and Urmil Thakur had contested Assembly elections from Sujanpur in 2012, but they lost to Independent candidate Rajinder Singh Rana who won by a margin of over 14,000 votes. Sujanpur seat was vacated following resignation of Rajinder Singh Rana who joined the Congress to contest Lok Sabha polls from Hamirpur and his wife was considered a strong candidate from this seat.
The political equations started changing in Hamirpur, the home district of former BJP Chief Minister P K Dhumal after Narinder Thakur, son of BJP stalwart Jagdev Chand, who had quit BJP in 2003, returned to the party and was given BJP ticket from Sujanpur, ignoring the claim of Urmil Thakur, who is his sister-in-law.
The BJP was hoping to get the support of late Jagdev Chand's family but the exit of Urmil Thakur from BJP has fractured the support and the Congress is pinning its hopes on divisions in the family.
Anita Rana would file the nominations tomorrow on the last day of filing nominations, while Narinder Thakur filed his nominations as BJP candidate today.