BJP chief Nadda rules out change in Himachal leadership

Pratibha Chauhan

Shimla, April 10

While the BJP has made up its mind to contest the upcoming Assembly polls under the leadership of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, the possibility of some of the sitting MLAs being denied ticket cannot be ruled out as indicated by party national president JP Nadda here on Sunday.

Setting aside all speculation of a change in leadership in Himachal, Nadda said the state Assembly elections will be fought under the leadership of Chief Minister Thakur. The statement by Nadda has finally ended speculation about leadership change in the state ahead of the Assembly polls, as had been done by the saffron party in Uttrakhand.

"The BJP Government is performing very well and there is no possibility of leadership change in the state," said Nadda. However, when asked if ticket could be denied to sitting MLAs, Nadda said there was always a possibility and it would be determined by changing circumstances. In any case, we do change about 10 per cent of the total ticket in any election, he added.

This statement of Nadda could give sleepless nights to not just MLAs but also several leaders. It is learnt that Nadda in his meeting with senior leaders had hinted that the organisation was far more important than the individual and that should be kept in mind. He also conveyed to the leaders that they should effectively take government's achievements to the masses and quell dissent and win over party leaders who were unhappy.

Even though talk of leadership change in Himachal had been doing the rounds, but the statement by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had fuelled speculation in this regard as he said Union Minister Anurag Thakur would be replacing Jai Ram Thakur. "I am fully satisfied and happy with the coordination between the party and the state government," Nadda remarked. He also ruled out the possibility of a Cabinet reshuffle.

Nadda, who is here on a four-day tour of the state, virtually kick-started the BJP campaign not just for the Assembly polls but also Shimla Municipal Corporation polls. In the last two days, he has held marathon meetings with the Core Committee, comprising top brass of the state leadership, party legislators, state executive office-bearers, councilors and local leaders.

Nadda also dismissed speculation of infighting within the party. "The BJP is a party with a democratic ethos, not like others where speaking one's mind is viewed as dissidence," he said.

He, however, chose to adopt a tactical stand on the issue of grant of old pension scheme to employees, which will emerge as a major election issue in the Assembly polls. "We have to come to a conclusion on this issue taking into account every aspect as it is people friendly," he remarked, remaining non-committal on the issue.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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