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Himachal polls-2017: BJP workers in lower HP upbeat

BJP leaders say since the former CM and three-time MP from Hamirpur has great following in lower areas of the state, the cadre was not coming out with full zeal and confidence over the issue of its CM face.

assembly elections Updated: Nov 02, 2017 16:40 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Hamirpur
Himachal polls-2017,Himachal Pradesh Assembly election 2017,Himachal assembly polls 2017
In 2012, the saffron party had won 10 seats from a total 17 in Hamirpur parliamentary segment, Dhumal’s bastion. This included lower areas of Una, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, two segments of Kangra and one segment of Mandi district. (Birbal Sharma/HT)

Bhartiya Janta Party’s (BJP) move to project senior party leader Prem Kumar Dhumal as its chief ministerial candidate barely ten days before the polls has boosted the morale of party workers in the lower areas of Himachal. The move may prove to be a game changer for the party.

BJP leaders say since the former CM and three-time MP from Hamirpur has great following in lower areas of the state, the cadre was not coming out with full zeal and confidence over the issue of its CM face. “The cadre was confused and this was unnecessary hitting the party chances. Dhumal is still the most popular face of the party in Himachal and party’s move to project him as the CM will result in a major vote swing,” says Balbir Bagga, district president of Una unit of the party, who is also party’s Dalit face in the district.

At the rally, many Dhumal supporters were seen taking a potshot at the group led by Union health minister Nadda for allegedly adding confusion over Dhumal’s name as the CM face.

Ramesh Pathania, a government employee from Hamirpur, feels Dhumal’s projection can play a key factor in the polls. “Until Dhumal was announced the BJP’s face, there was confusion on all seats in Hamirpur. The Congress government has done great work for employees, especially by reducing contract years from eight to three years. I am satisfied with the government, but now will vote for the BJP as a CM from Hamirpur is a very big thing,” adds Pathania.

In 2012, the saffron party had won 10 seats from a total 17 in Hamirpur parliamentary segment, Dhumal’s bastion. This included lower areas of Una, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, two segments of Kangra and one segment of Mandi district.

Keeping this factor in mind, the BJP seems to have decided to project Dhumal as their trump card for the polls.

“We have finalised Dhumal’’ name after much deliberations. He is not only the most popular leaders of plain areas, but is equally popular in hills as well. We have given the public Dhumal as their next CM and now it’s their turn to ensure a massive majority for the BJP,” said national BJP chief Amit Shah after addressing a rally in Hamirpur on Wednesday.

Dhumal, meanwhile, has urged supporters to ensure party’s victory in all five seats of the district. “Whenever Hamirpur elected all five MLAs from the BJP, it got the chief minister,” said Dhumal, and thanked Shah and BJP’s Parliamentary Board for declaring him the CM face.

At the rally, many Dhumal supporters were seen taking a potshot at the group led by Union health minister Nadda for allegedly adding confusion over Dhumal’s name as the CM face.

“Nadda group had played smartly by convincing the high command to field Dhumal from Sujanpur when he was a sitting MLA from Hamirpur. Later, this group also made repeated statements that the CM will be declared after the poll results. But now high command’s shot has stumped many,” a supporter said.

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 16:40 IST