Dharamsala, April 24
The BJP roadshow and the rally organized this week in Kangra presided over by party national president JP Nadda saw a generational shift in party. Till date the BJP had been relying on its former CMs Shanta Kumar and PK Dhumal to seek votes in the state. While Shanta Kumar was showcased as ‘Pani wala Mukhya Mantri’ (CM who delivered drinking water at the doorsteps of people), Dhumal was showcased as ‘Road wala Mukhya Mantri’ (CM who improved road connectivity) by the BJP in its election campaigns.
Nadda and Jai Ram in prominent position
- In the rally at Kangra, two former Chief Ministers of the BJP did not participate
- Shanta Kumar, though was present in Palampur, did not take part in the rally
- In the posters and banners put up by party across Kangra district for rally and roadshow, the photos of Jagat Prakash Nadda and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur were given prominence
However, in the rally organized at Kangra, the two former CMs did not participate. Shanta Kumar, though was present in Palampur, was not seen in the BJP rally. Nadda, however, called on Shanta Kumar at his residence. Interestingly, in most of the posters and banners put up by party across Kangra district for the rally and the roadshow, the photos of Nadda and Jai Ram Thakur were given prominence and the posters and banners of former CMs of party were sparse.
The party neither used the names of its former CMs prominently in its rally and the roadshow in Kangra, nor ensured their presence. The party insiders say that the BJP might seek votes in the names of its next generation leaders, including Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and Nadda, in the forthcoming Assembly elections.
The state BJP in Himachal hitherto was considered to be divided into two groups led by former CMs Shanta Kumar and Prem Kumar Dhumal. While the Shanta Kumar group generally dominated the Kangra parliamentary constituency which includes Kangra and Chamba district, the Prem Kumar Dhumal group dominated in the Hamirpur parliamentary constituency that includes Hamirpur, Una and Bilaspur districts.
The former CMs also have their loyalists across the state. Anurag Thakur, son of Dhumal, is presently the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting and is also a prominent BJP face in Himachal. However, his role has remained limited to national politics and he rarely has been associated with state politics.
Nadda is considered a strong supporter of Jai Ram Thakur. He had recently put to rest all speculations regarding a change in the state leadership before the Assembly elections. Nadda, in a press conference at Shimla, openly said that the BJP would go into the next Assembly elections in the state under the leadership of Jai Ram Thakur.