DAINIK NATION BUREAU
BJP has won the Himachal Pradesh Assembly poll but its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal has lost his seat.
Commenting on it, humal said he was thankful to the people of the state for giving mandate to BJP. Personal loss is not of much importance. In politics, sometimes you win, sometime you lose. Although he did not expect his defeat so he will review his defeat.
A two-time Chief Minister of the state, Mr Dhumal was announced as BJP Chief Ministerial candidate about two weeks before the election in the state, held on November 9. It was a change from the party’s strategy of projecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek votes. The move was to counter the Congress taunts that the party has no credible face to take on its six-time Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh.
It was announced to seek the support of the upper castes – Brahmins and Rajputs — who are seen as crucial factions in the state. Earlier, Union minister JP Nadda was seen as a front-runner for the top job.
Dhumal’s selection was expected to work in the favour of BJP in Sujanpur, close to his home turf Hamirpur, which had chosen a Congress candidate in the assembly elections of 2012. Rajendra Singh Rana, the sitting legislator and earlier, a confidante of Mr Dhumal, had joined the Congress in 2012.
Compared to Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh had a low-key campaign, focused on local issues. Although Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited here seven times.
It had completely overshadowed the Congress campaign in the state, where Rahul Gandhi had only visited twice. Not much funds had been allotted for the campaigning either, reinforcing the perception that the party had given up on the state, which swings between the Congress and the BJP every five years. The mandate was seen as belonging to the BJP after five years of Congress rule.
A 73 years old Dhumal is a 10 years younger than the congress CM Singh. But he is only two years away from the informal retirement age in the BJP. The face-off between the two political heavyweights in the state has been long-standing. Since 1998, the two had taken turns to occupy the Chief Minister’s post. Dhumal had led the BJP to victory in the state in 1998 and 2007. After Amit Shah declared the veteran as the BJP’s choice for chief minister, PM Modi had hailed him as a wonderful CM, praising his rich administrative experience.
This time, the BJP had built its campaign against the multiple corruption allegations against Virbhadra Singh, who is facing CBI enquiry on three issues. The BJP had been seeking the Chief Minister’s removal since 2015, triggering tit-for-tat corruption allegations against Dhumal from the Congress camp.
The BJP poll strategy paid off because BJP won 43 seats out of 68 member Himachal Pradesh Assembly. Earlier Hamirpur MP and Dhumal’s son Anurag Thakur had predicted a landslide victory of the party in the state.
Senior BJP leader Jairam Thakur, who has won from Seraj assembly seat, has rushed to Delhi. He was one of the strong contenders for the Chief Minister’s post