Union minister Nadda is not even on the list while two-time former CM Dhumal will fight from Sujanpur; elections for the 68 seats will be held next month.
New Delhi: The BJP Wednesday announced its list of 68 candidates for next month’s assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, with party sources indicating that veteran leader Prem Kumar Dhumal would be a strong contender for the post of chief minister in the event of victory.
Sources say even if the party decides not to announce its CM candidate, the message has gone out to the public that two-time former chief minister Dhumal would be the man in charge. This is because Union minister and Rajya Sabha MP J.P. Nadda, Dhumal’s potential rival for the CM’s chair, does not even feature on the list of candidates.
Dhumal, however, will not be fighting from his pet borough of Hamirpur. Instead, he has swapped seats with sitting MLA Narendra Thakur, and will contest from the latter’s old constituency, Sujanpur.
Asked about this switch, Dhumal’s son and Lok Sabha MP Anurag Thakur said: “Dhumal ji could contest from any seat as people of the state love him. I think party leaders must have thought it wise to switch seats for better results.”
Sources say a lot of surveys capturing the mood of the people taken into account before the final selection, and Anurag Thakur believes the selection of candidates will ensure more than 50 seats for the BJP.
The party has given tickets to six women, while 23 of the BJP’s 27 sitting MLAs will defend their seats.
Many who have switched over to the BJP from other parties have also received tickets. These include Anil Sharma (from Mandi), son of former Union minister Sukh Ram, who came from the Congress this month, chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s sister-in-law Vijay Jyoti Sain (from Kasumpti), as well as Pramod Sharma (Shimla Rural), who has switched to the BJP from the Trinamool Congress.
Sitting MLA Maheshwar Singh, who had floated his own Himachal Lokhit Party, is BJP’s candidate from Kullu, while Balbir Singh Verma, who had won as an independent last time, is now the BJP’s candidate in Chopal.