In another jolt to the Congress ahead of the Assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, Rajinder Malangar, son of the former Deputy Speaker Ram Dass Malangar, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, along with his supporters, in the Kutlehar constituency in Una.On Thursday, Chetan Parmar, a prominent leader of Sirmaur and grandson of the first Himachal Chief Minister Y.S. Parmar, also joined the BJP. Kush Parmar (father of Chetan Parmar) was a five-time Congress MLA and is still active in the State politics. The family was feeling ignored. Anil Sharma, son of veteran Congress leader Sukhram and a sitting Cabinet minister in the Virbhadra government, had also joined the BJP after being allegedly slighted by the Chief Minister. Prominent leader of Kangra, Major (retd.) Vijay Singh Mankotia has parted ways with the Congress and is fighting independently from Sahapur. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh’s brother-in-law Vikram Sen and his wife, Jayoti Sen, who is now a BJP candidate from Kusumpati, left the Congress a few days ago. Calling the Congress a sinking ship, sitting Nahan MLA and BJP vice-president Rajiv Bindal organised a welcome function for Mr. Parmar.
Miscreants threw stones on the vehicle carrying Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is touring the State ahead of Assembly elections, in Churhat area near Sidhi district, a police official said. Mr. Chouhan was not hurt in the incident, Churhat Police Inspector Ram Babu Choudhari told PTI over phone. He did not give any more information, saying he was busy discharging his duties at a public meeting of the chief minister in the district. Stones were hurled at Mr. Chouhan’s vehicle in Churhat area — which is the Assembly constituency of Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh, Madhya Pradesh BJP spokesman Rajnish Agrawal said.Churhat is about 25 km from the district headquarters. Later addressing a public meeting in the district as part of his Jan Ashirwad Yatra, Mr. Chouhan dared Mr. Singh to come in the open and fight with him. “Ajay Singh, if you have strength come in open and fight with me,” he said.“I am physically weak but I won’t be bogged down by your deeds. People of the state are with me,” he added. In a press release, Mr. Singh said no Congressman was involved in the stone-pelting incident. He said his party does not follow the culture of violence. “I suspect that it was a well thought and hatched conspiracy aimed at defaming me and people of Churhat,” he added. Mr. Chouhan is touring the State in a bus modified as a chariot.