Jai Ram Thakur to be Himachal CM

Suspense over Himachal Pradesh’s new chief minister ended with BJP giving the reins of the state to five-time MLA and former minister Jai Ram Thakur.

The 52-year-old will be the 13th chief minister of the hill state. He will take oath on December 27 in the presence of PM Narendra Modi.

Amid uncertainty following the defeat of Prem Kumar Dhumal, BJP’s central observers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narender Tomar, and the party’s HP in-charge, Mangal Pandey, arrived in Shimla to meet newly elected MLAs, leaders and MPs from the state.

In the meeting, Prem Kumar Dhumal proposed Jai Ram Thakur’s name as the leader of the BJP legislature party and senior leaders Shanta Kumar, J P Nadda and Satinder Satti seconded it.

Later, a BJP delegation led by Thakur met Governor Acharya Devvrat at Raj Bhavan and staked claim to form government.

This is the first time in the state that a leader from Mandi has become CM. If Kangra district with 15 of the 68 assembly seats forms the political heart of Himachal, then Mandi comes in second with 10 seats.

BJP had faced an internal rift while selecting a CM after Dhumal lost in Sujanpur along with other senior leaders. While Thakur was seen as the front-runner ever since the results were declared on December 18, many other names, including Union minister J P Nadda and Dhumal, did the rounds over the next few days.

Thakur and Dhumal had a closed-door meeting before the central observers arrived in Shimla on Thursday. They met at Dhumal’s residence at Samirpur village for about an hour. But soon after, supporters of Dhumal raised slogans demanding the CM’s post for him. Thakur’s supporters, too, did some sloganeering, exposing the party’s fault line. On Saturday, however, Dhumal said he was not in the race and it was largely certain that Thakur would take over.

Coming from a humble background, he represents a class of leaders who have worked their way up from the grassroots. Sources said his clean image, strong connect with RSS and ability to take warring factions of the party along played a major role in his selection.

Thakur, from Tandi village in Mandi district’s Seraj assembly constituency, was elected as an MLA for the first time in 1998 from Chachiot in Mandi and was re-elected in 2003 and 2007 from the same seat.Thakur, who has an MA in English literature, is married to Sadhna Singh, a doctor, and they have two daughters.

No comments: