Saudi NRI Prakash Rana smooth sailing in Himachal Pradesh election
A section of the NRI community in Saudi Arabia keenly waiting for the outcome of the hill state Himachal Pradesh state assembly elections, where an NRI businessman fought a fierce election, and polling was held on Saturday. The results will be declared on December 8.
The election in Himachal Pradesh is a crucial test for the BP, which is hoping to beat precedent and return to power as well as for the Congress looking for electoral revival.
For the BJP, the elections will be a test of the Modi factor, and for the Congress, it will define their next line of leadership. The result will prove to be a defining point for each party’s strategy in the run-up to the 2024 elections.
Prakash Rana, who was involved with a lucrative transport business for some leading Indian schools works under the supervision of the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia, contested as a BJP candidate from the Jogindernagar assembly constituency in Mandi district.
Mandi district is considered the political nerve centre for Himachal Pradesh state. BJP won nine out of ten assembly constituencies in the district in 2017, including Seeraj, which was won by chief minister Jai Ram Thakur. The lone seat the BJP failed to win in the district, Jogindernagar, had gone to Independent candidate Parkash Rana, who had later extended support to BJP and this time he contested as a BJP candidate.
This time, despite Jai Ram being expected to return as CM if the BJP wins, the party is facing anti-incumbency on many seats in the district according to reports.
The locals are angry over several issues in most constituencies, including bad roads, as well as failure to properly rehabilitate people displaced by projects to widen national highways into four lanes. Constituencies in the district affected by such projects included Jogindernagar. The BJP is also facing rebellion more than Congress.
However, Rana is expected to win easily as he sailed smoothly compared with other heavyweight leaders in the state, according to sources.
Rana has created a political flutter in Himachal Pradesh by joining BJP and obtaining its ticket by sidelining Gulab Singh Thakur, a seasoned politician, seven-time MLA, and former speaker and minister. Gulab Singh Thakur is the father-in-law of union minister Anurag Thakur, and also a relative of former chief minister PK Dhumal.
In fact, Rana also made headlines when he won his maiden election as an independent candidate from the same constituency in 2017 by defeating BJP stalwart Gulab Singh Thakur.
The soft spoken, down-to-earth and friendly Rana, matriculated from HP board and son of retired army jawan, risen as one of successful entrepreneur in Saudi Arabia where he entered into the automobile field and later bagged school bus transport contract business with the Indian Embassy schools in Jeddah and later in Dammam. He has a diversity of business interests in India and abroad.
Rana, who owns a chopper, flies between Delhi and his native village, Golwan. He built a palatial house that also included a helipad. He also owns a fleet of branded luxurious cars.
Rana has been actively involved in politics in his home state while his son is at the helm of affairs in Saudi Arabia.