Demise of BJP leader Narinder Bragta (5th June) and Congress stalwart Virbhadra Singh (8th July) has left a huge leadership void. Shimla district is considered a Congress stronghold. Virbhadra Singh & Ram Lal Thakur, who hailed from the district, occupied the CM’s post for nearly 25 years. Both are no more.

Former minister Vidya Stokes has retired. She did not contest the 2017 Assembly poll. Another Congress leader, JBL Khachi, who was from Kumarsain, passed away in 2002. With Virbhadra Singh gone, the Congress may find it hard to retain its bastion.

Shimla district has eight Assembly segments of which four — Rampur, Rohru, Shimla (Rural) and Kasumpti — went with the Congress in 2017. The BJP won the Shimla (Urban), Chopal and Jubbal-Kotkhai seats and the CPM bagged the Theog seat.

With the death of senior BJP leader Bragta, the Jubbal-Kotkhai seat has fallen vacant, byelection for which is likely to be held soon. State Urban Development Minister Suresh Bhardwaj is the only senior BJP leader in the district now. He represents the Shimla (Urban) constituency.

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