Shimla: The old saying – “once bitten, twice shy” can’t have the best frame-fit slot other than Hamirpur parliamentary constituency.A BJP stronghold for over two-decades, Hamirpur has much at stake for young MP Anurag Thakur, who fights Congress’s five-time MLA Ram Lal Thakur to defend a political legacy that opponents of his father and two-time Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal are trying to covertly question. Dhumal, who led the BJP to the victory in 2017 poll, lost his assembly election by a slender margin of 1,919 votes and missed his third Chief Minister term at a moment when things looked all done for him. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThat’s why neither Dhumal nor Anurag Thakur is publically boasting of impending win except that BJP’s national president Amit Shah reaching out them to declare to the voters –a predictable “bigger role” for Anurag Thakur after his victory. “We are happy that Amit Shah acknowledged the potential in Anurag Thakur. It has boosted our prospects. But we haven’t forgotten how the finest victory turned bitter for people of Hamirpur on December 19, 2017, when sahib (Dhumal) lost his Sujanpur seat,” says Sanjeev Katwal, BJP leader and staunch Dhumal loyalist. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadThus, Anurag is playing safe and focussing on the campaign. The poll narrative is just confined to development issues. The constituency having a large presence of ex-servicemen and serving soldiers and para-military personnel has an advantage factor for the BJP. “We want Modi to come back. He has raised the morale of forces and hit Pakistan hard,” says Subedar (Retd) Harish Patial of Bhota, near Hamirpur. For Anurag Thakur stakes it’s not alone his victory but also to prove that Dhumal still commands his influence in the constituency, where he had won the elections in 1989,1991 and 2007. Anurag Thakur, 44, had stepped into the shoes of his father in 2008 when Dhumal had become Chief Minister. He won the seat with a record margin of 1.74 lakh votes and never lost thereafter. Biggest criticism about Anurag Thakur is his high profile image when he headed the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) but was removed later by the Supreme Court following a controversy for not implementing the reforms recommended by Lodha Committee. The young BJP politicians, however, is credited with building a world-class cricket stadium at Dharamshala, a landmark even his critics in the Congress appreciates. Challenging him is Congress’s former minister and five-time MLA Ram Lal Thakur, who had been his strong critics ever since Anurag Thakur became Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) president. Thakur alleges, “Anurag did nothing in the constituency. He is also jumblebaaz like Modi. Most of the time he had been travelling abroad or attending high profile parties. He (Anurag) has not replied to my single question as to why he was removed by the Supreme Court from the post of BCCI president?” Congress candidate told the Millennium Post. Ram Lal Thakur, 67, never wanted to contest the poll but the party pushed his name after former PCC president Sukhwinder Sukhu and Congress Legislature Party leader Mukesh Agnihotri declined. But Anurag says, “My work in the constituency and Modi ji’s five years are strong points. Hamirpur is the only constituency, which has got new projects worth hundreds of crores.” He counts on Railway expansion projects, AIIMS, PGI satellite centre, Central University, Medical college, IIIT and National Highways. My mobile ‘Sawsathya Sewa hospital’ has been a big draw, besides “cricket Mahakumbh” for youths and claims having fully utilised the MPLAD. His campaign is supplemented by social media war while Congress has a problem of resources and top campaign strategists due to factionalism in the party.