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Bollywood’s ‘Queen’ Kangana won the Mandi seat by more than 74 thousand votes

Mandi (Himachal Pradesh), Bollywood’s ‘Queen’ and BJP candidate Kangana Ranaut, won the Mandi parliamentary constituency on Tuesday by more than 74 thousand votes against former royal family descendant and Congress MLA Vikramaditya Singh.

Kangana got 5,37,022 votes, while Singh, who came in second, got 4,62,267 votes.

This huge constituency, which is the toughest in the state and covers nearly two-thirds of the area, witnessed a clash between legacy and stardom.

This seat was earlier represented by Pratibha Singh, who is Vikramaditya’s mother. She has been a three-time MP from Mandi. This family has ties with the royal family of the erstwhile Keonthal state.

She refused to contest again. She said that senior party leaders had proposed Vikramaditya’s name because they believed that “he is young, energetic and a good speaker, who has influence on the youth and he will pose a good challenge to Kangana”.

Addressing a rally in Mandi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the aspirations of the youth and the importance of women empowerment.

“The Congress has not yet reached the 21st century. People are progressing, while the Congress is moving in the opposite direction. It is going back to the 20th century. The Congress royal family is strictly against daughters. The entire Congress is extremely anti-women. But to my family in Himachal, listen to me carefully and give your daughters a good education,” he said.

Political observers told IANS that Kangana, who hails from the hill state, has an edge over Vikramaditya, who largely relies on his rich family political legacy, as she had started campaigning quite early. During the campaign, the two candidates also engaged in a war of words that turned personal, with names such as “chota pappu” and “beef eater”.

Two-time MLA Vikramaditya (35), who described 37-year-old Kangana as his “elder sister”, is the Public Works Minister in the Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu-led state government, while Kangana has just started her political career.

Mandi is the home district of BJP leader Jai Ram Thakur, the first person to become the state’s chief minister. He accompanied Kangana during most of her election rallies and campaigns.

Thakur, who contested the assembly elections in 1998 and has won all six consecutive assembly elections since then by huge margins, lost the Mandi parliamentary bypoll in 2013 to Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh by 1.36 lakh votes.

Kangana hails from Bhambla village near Hamirpur town, around 200 km from state capital Shimla.

She has a cottage in the picturesque tourist destination of Manali, which is part of the Mandi parliamentary constituency.

In her election rallies, former chief minister Thakur, whose focus was on ensuring victory in the Mandi seat, said several times, “Kangana is the daughter of Mandi, which is called Choti Kashi. She has brought laurels to Himachal and Mandi in the film industry.”

Historically, the Mandi constituency has supported the descendants of the erstwhile princely states, electing “kings” in 13 of the 19 elections since 1952, including two by-elections.

In the 2021 Mandi bypoll, necessitated by the death of Ram Swaroop Sharma, the BJP had fielded Brigadier Khushal Thakur (retd), a respected officer who played a key role in the 1999 Kargil war. But Pratibha Singh won riding on a sympathy wave following the demise of her husband Virbhadra Singh.

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