Post bypoll debacle in Himachal Pradesh, BJP may go for course correction

Pratibha Chauhan

Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 3

The loss suffered by the BJP in Himachal byelections could force it to make drastic changes in its leadership and organisational setup, besides reshuffle the Cabinet ahead of the 2022 Assembly elections.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur could face the heat as the BJP lost ground on his home turf Mandi, which was won by the party with a margin of almost 4 lakh votes in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Also, the dismal performance in the home state of party's national president JP Nadda might not go down well with the high command.

The fact that two of the CM's ministerial colleagues, Education Minister Govind Thakur and Ram Lal Markanday, could not manage lead from their Assembly segments of Manali and Lahaul and Spiti, respectively, has also put a question mark on the performance of the BJP regime in the state.

Having lost the Mandi LS seat and three Assembly segments — Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal-Kotkhai — while being in power in clearly indicate heavy anti-incumbency piling up against the state government. "There was no issue against me or my government. I don't see any possibility of change. The sympathy factor for the Congress and anti-incumbency against the government might have affected the BJP's prospects," said CM Thakur.

The fact that the Congress got lead in nine of the 17 Assembly segments that form part of the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency indicates the growing resentment against the BJP in the state. In the last parliamentary polls in 2019, the Congress had failed to get lead even from a single segment.

The Congress' victory has come as a shot in the arm for the party. It was the first election that the party fought minus its stalwart Virbhadra Singh. The sympathy vote, especially in Mandi for his wife Pratibha Singh, worked for the party.

HP cabinet rejig, party setup changes likely

  • The possibility of BJP making changes in organisational setup can't be ruled out
  • There are already murmurs of a Cabinet reshuffle so that non-performing ministers can be shown the door
  • CM Jai Ram Thakur could face the heat as the party lost ground on his home turf Mandi
Courtesy: Tribune News Service
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