Friday, February 3rd, 2023 18:03:53

Ahead of polls In HImachal Pradesh, BJP nets Cong working president and OBC leader

By Ashutosh Kumar
Updated: August 20, 2022 9:13 am

After having roped in two independent MLAs to the party, ruling BJP has given a big jolt to the congress in Himachal Pradesh in Kangra—state’s biggest district considered as ‘route to power’ in Himachal Pradesh.

Former working president of the congress Pawan Kajal, a OBC leader joined the BJP at New Delhi in presence of top leadership, including national BJP president J P Nadda ,union minister for information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

This was a clear attempt of the BJP to make huge penetration in the OBC community ,which constitutes about 18 per cent of the state’s population.Kangra has maximum population of OBCs.Kangra has 15 assembly seats in 68-member House followed by 10 in Mandi,which is Chief Minister’s home district.

Historically, the OBC community is mostly concentrated in the merged areas, comprising Kangra, Una and parts of Hamirpur. Besides this, Sirmaur has 6 per cent, Solan 4 per cent and Mandi has 3 per cent population of OBCs.

This is a biggest chunk of the political vote bank ,apart from Scheduled Castes whose population as per census is more than 25 percent.

Currently , Sraveen Chaudhary, a senior cabinet minister who also hails from Kangra represents the community while Ramesh Dhawala from (Jawalamukhi) –a former minister ,is another key leader .The BJP’s attempt is to woo the OBC by bringing in Pawan Kajal , a two-time MLA ,who had rebelled against the BJP in 2017 polls and later aligned with the congress is definitely crucial .

Beside Kajal, another two-time Congress MLA Lakhvinder Rana (Nalagarh) also joined the BJP .

Though, there were speculations about another Congress MLA Rajendra Rana, who had defeated former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal in 2017 but there seems to be some last minute hitch about his ultimate entry to the BJP ,maybe reservations from Dhumal family.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur who openly claims that the BJP will be breaking a historic myth by returning to power second time consecutively has given a slogan —Satta Nahin ,Riwaaz Badelenge ( No change of power this time, only tradition will change)

“ There is no scope for the Congress anymore in the country to get the power .It’s a sinking ship .Its leaders are voluntarily leaving the party and supporting policies and programmes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi” he told Udhay India .

Before news about Kajal’s plans to join the BJP reached the Congress circles, the party general secretary Rajeev Shukla took a quick decision to remove Kajal from the post of working president .He instead appointed former Minister Chander Kumar—a also a OBC leader ,in his place .

Only some weeks back, two independent MLAs Hoshiar Singh and Prakash Rana were also admitted in the party .

Insiders in the Congress claim that because the party doesn’t have any chief ministerial face ,after demise of veteran leader Virbhadra Singh, a six-time Chief Minister, the organisational set-up was in complete shambles .The old congress leaders are feeling sidelined as the high command has no clarity as how to build-up the campaign and fund the elections .

The BJP on the other hand is much ahead of the congress in terms of strategies and resources .Prime Minister Narendra Modi has paid two visits to the state already and is likely to be in Himachal Pradesh next month .

BJP national President J P Nadda is also arriving this weekend while party vice president Saudan Singh is already campaigning in the state.

 

By Ashutosh Kumar

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