Shimla, December 26
With less than a year for the Assembly poll, the political setback in the four byelections couldn’t have come at a more inappropriate time for Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
The defeat in the byelections and more so in the Mandi parliamentary bypoll, the home turf of the CM, has certainly weakened his position. Even as he puts up a brave front while admitting that the defeat was a “timely alert”, there is no doubt that he faces an onerous task of leading the saffron party to victory in the Assembly poll. The challenges he faces, both in government and party, are multifarious.
The fact that Covid has adversely impacted the economy and slowed down the pace of development over the last two years does not make his task any easier as his regime completes four years on December 27. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be present at a rally in Mandi to mark the fourth anniversary of the government but the expectations from the CM are high.
Even as the CM credited the Congress victory in Mandi Lok Sabha and three Assembly bypolls in Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal Kotkhai to sympathy factor, the fact that internal sabotage and bickering within the BJP proved to be detrimental cannot be ignored. With the impending overhaul in the Cabinet as well as party organisation yet to happen, the disastrous performance is only adding to uncertainty and simmering discontent in the party cadres.
“The Congress got benefit of sympathy votes as the people of Himachal got swayed by emotions, but this will not happen each time,” asserts Thakur. He says his regime has been sympathetic towards the poor and downtrodden as reflected in several social welfare schemes, which will help the party bounce back to repeat the government.
The “Mission Repeat” of the BJP seems to be an uphill task considering the political scenario and the debacle in the bypoll has only added to the woes of the party. The high command will have high expectations from Thakur who till now has survived to remain in the saddle despite speculation of the leadership change.
The fact that the cash-strapped economy has not much hope of generating additional resources makes the task even tougher. The debt stands at Rs 65,000 crore and the economy is not really looking up. Catering to the demands of the much-pampered contingent of over two lakh employees, besides pensioners, and granting them financial benefits has only added to the financial woes of the government.
Rift in party
Even as the CM credited the Congress victory in the bypoll to sympathy factor, the fact that internal sabotage and bickering within the BJP proved to be detrimental cannot be ignored.
Debt at Rs 65,000 cr
The fact that the cash-strapped economy has not much hope of generating additional resources makes the task even tougher. The debt stands at Rs65,000 crore and the economy is not really looking up.