Incumbent chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal on Friday held the "wrong" distribution of tickets responsible for the BJP's debacle in the Vidhan Sabha elections that saw the Congress romping home with a victory on Thursday.
Not naming anyone, Dhumal largely blamed the party's dismal performance in Kangra district for the defeat. "Had we won seven of the 15 seats, we would have won," Dhumal told mediapersons at his official residence. "There were some shortcomings in the ticket distribution," he said.
In the run up to the elections, the BJP had announced a list of 45 candidates much in advance. But delayed the announcement of the remaining 23 candidates. The second list included the names of a majority of those who had to contest from constituencies in Kangra district. "The delay in announcing the nominees sent out the wrong signal," Dhumal, who dithered to blame his archrival Shanta Kumar for the dismal performance, said.
Dhumal saw overconfidence to be a reason behind rivalries in the party. "Sensing success, everyone became keen to contest the elections," he said.
Dhumal, however, did not blame factionalism for the debacle. "Every party has its own in-house problems. The infighting was worse in Congress," he said, adding that the defeat called for introspection.
"When we meet, I will ask them what went wrong. Where did the party lack?"
He minced no words to say that opposition to trifurcating Kangra district from various quarters within the party was also responsible for the defeat. "Had we gone ahead and created more district, we could have secured at least 12 of the 15 seats in Kangra district," he said. The Dhumal government had initiated the move to carve out three more districts out of Kangra. The proposal had met with strong opposition from the Shanta Kumar camp.
Dhumal, however, said there were more reasons for the defeat. "Victory has many fathers, but defeat is orphan," he said, adding that the party had even allotted tickets to new faces.
Dhumal said inflation was a big issue at the national level. "But it had little impact on the state elections," Dhumal said.