Dhumal and Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Satpal Singh Satti are among the party’s candidates for the upcoming assembly elections. BJP released its final list of candidates for all the 68 seats in the state on Wednesday. The list does not include health minister JP Nadda, who has also been seen as a likely contender for the CM post.
Though the party has not declared a CM nominee, Dhumal’s inclusion in the candidate list is a strong hint that the party feels his stature is needed to present an effective alternative to Congress’s Virbhadra Singh. There is also an effort to prevent internal bickering as Dhumal is seen to command some clout. The list also includes the name of veteran Congress leader Sukh Ram’s son Anil Sharma, who recently quit Congress and joined BJP. He will be contesting from Mandi.
Dhumal, a two-time chief minister, will contest from Sujanpur instead of Hamirpur. Being a senior leader, party insiders claim that he has been included in the list ruling out possibility of any confusion about who will be the party’s chief ministerial candidate. His son and Lok Sabha MP, Anurag Thakur, endorsed the list, as he termed it the “best possible”.
Age also played a key role in his favour as being 73 years, he was still not in the ‘above 75’ bracket even as party president Amit Shah had recently indicated about leniency on the age front too as he had said those above 75 can contest polls. The party has indicated that winning prospects remain the most important factor in selection of candidates.
The inclusion of Anil Sharma has caused a flutter in the party in Himachal as his father Sukh Ram has been a “tainted name” since the days of the telecom scam that BJP had campaigned about. Party leaders reckon that Sharma and his father have strong following and the duo will be effective in Mandi.
Source : timesofindia