Shimla, Sep 6: The BJP will bank on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity to win Himachal Pradesh polls later this year. It has dropped the idea of a projecting a face and will face the December assembly election under collective leadership, as it did in Uttarakhand earlier this year.
“No chief ministerial candidate will be projected,” a BJP functionary, privy to the decision, told HT.
The BJP has four former chief ministers in Uttarakhand but it faced the assembly election without projecting anyone of them and won a three-fourths majority.
BJP chief Amit Shah ruled in favour of loyalist Trivendra Singh Rawat after the elections, much to the displeasure of established leaders of Uttarakhand.
In Himachal, which goes to polls late this year, the BJP leadership had explored the idea of appointing Union health minister JP Nadda as state president but developed cold feet after initial response from state leaders. Nadda’s appointment would have been seen as a tacit projection of him as the party’s face there.
The Union health minister is a known detractor of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and his parliamentarian son Anurag Thakur. Dhumal is BJP’s among the senior leaders of Himachal and most of the legislators in the state are loyal to him.
Nadda is a Brahmin leader from Shimla and his rise has been a matter of grudge for stalwarts from the Thakur community.
“We don’t want a tug of war in Himachal to spoil party’s chances,” a BJP general secretary said. “A decision on chief minister will be taken only after the election.”
Nadda remains Shah’s favourite for the chief minister’s post, but party’s leadership fear that the transition may not be as smooth as they want it to be.
Shah managed to install his choice as the chief minister in Uttarakhand because the party got a Himalayan majority leaving veterans with no option but to fall in line.
Those involved in Himachal affairs admit that ignoring Dhumal’s claim for the CM’s post will not be possible in case of a marginal victory in Himachal Pradesh.
The state is ruled by Congress led by its veteran leader chief minister Virbhadra Singh.
Source Hindustan Times