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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

‘Jittery’ HP leaders begin jockeying for key portfolios

Speculations are rife that CM Jai Ram Thakur could drop three ministers after assembly’s winter session

chandigarh Updated: Dec 04, 2019 22:22 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Hindustantimes
         

‘Jittery’ leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh have begun jockeying for portfolios as the buzz around is that chief minister Jai Ram Thakur could drop three ministers ahead of the planned cabinet rejig after the winter session of Vidhan Sabha.

While some are seeking cabinet berths, others are vying for better portfolios. Young legislator from Bhoranj, Kamlesh Kumari, is keen to join Jai Ram’s cabinet. Her name sprang as speculation were rife that urban development minister Sarveen Chaudhary, a three-time legislator, could be dropped from the ministry as chief minister was not “impressed” with her performance.

It has been learnt that Kamlesh has also met Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) top brass and made several trips to Delhi.

Some sections of the party feel that while constituting his cabinet, Jai Ram had given preference to Hamirpur that had for long remained the centre of power.

Prem Kumar Dhumal from Hamirpur came chief minister twice but lost this time to Rajender Rana.

A minister from Hamirpur will also help Kamlesh Kumari gain leverage over Prem Kumar Dhumal’s group that became more active after Hamirpur Lok Sabha member Anurag Thakur was appointed as state minister for finance and corporate affairs.

On the one hand, former horticulture minister Narendra Bragta has rolled up his sleeves, while on the other, speaker Rajiv Bindal has thrown enough hints that ministry and organisational work suited him more than the speaker’s chair.

In this case, the party could choose a new speaker or accommodate senior minister Suresh Bhardwaj in his place. Nurpur legislator Rakesh Pathania is a key contender for ministerial berth.

With ruling party’s organisational elections almost complete, the top brass are also mulling over picking up new chief by December 20.

Trilok Jamwal, who is currently chief minister Jai Ram Thakur’s political adviser, is seen as the frontrunner for the post as he has close proximity to BJP working president JP Nadda.

Names of industries minister Bikram Singh and health minister Vipin Parmar are also doing rounds. Parmar is known for his organisational skills.

Chief minister’s close confidante and Sundernagar legislator Rakesh Jamwal is also lobbying hard for party’s top slot.

Party’s general secretary from Kullu and in-charge for organisation, Ram Singh, is a frontrunner for the BJP president post as well.