Himachal bypoll: BJP to act against black sheep after Tuesday’s outcome
State BJP chief Suresh Kashyap says party to initiate disciplinary action against members who worked against official candidates in October 30 byelections
With counting for the byelections to the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency and three assembly segments of Arki, Fatehpur and Jubbal-Kotkhai slated on Tuesday, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has decided to take disciplinary action against members who defied the party line to work against its candidates.
Also read: Punjab Engineering College alumna Archana Thakur first woman to head Himachal PWD
The BJP faced the biggest rebellion in Jubbal-Kotkhai segment, where the block unit of the party resigned after the ticket was denied to Chetan Bragta and given to Neelam Saraik instead. The party has already expelled 52 office-bearers of its block unit besides the women, farmer and youth wings. It’s likely that more expulsions will be made after the election outcome.
“We have sought a report from the observers appointed for the elections and action will be taken against those who defied the party line,” said state unit chief Suresh Kashyap.
Rebellion in Arki, sulking leaders in Mandi
The party faced rebellion in Arki, where its former legislator Govind Ram Sharma, refused to campaign for the official candidate, Rattan Singh Pal.
Govind Ram, a two-time legislator, was denied the ticket in the 2017 assembly election when Rattan Singh Pal was pitted against former chief minister Virbhadra Singh. Sharma has been upset with the party for denying him a ticket, while the party deputed him for electioneering in the Mandi byelections.
Maheshwar Singh, a three-time Lok Sabha member scion of the royal family in Kullu, was seeking a ticket from Mandi and is since sulking.
Former state BJP president Khimi Ram too is miffed with the party for being ignored. Party affairs in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna had separately met the sulking leaders.
Former Rajya Sabha member Kripal Parmar also did not campaign actively in Fatehpur after he was denied the ticket.
Six Shimla councillors refused to campaign
The BJP is likely to act against six municipal corporation councillors from Shimla who refused to campaign for the Jubbal-Kotkhai official candidate, Neelam Seraik, in spite of being allocated election duties. “The party will strongly recommend that the ticket should not be given to councillors who defied its diktat,” said an office-bearer, requesting anonymity.
On the other hand, the party will also assess the performance of ministers deputed on poll duties. The government had deputed state industries minister Bikram Singh to oversee the party’s Fatehpur campaign, while state health minister Rajiv Sehjal was to oversee the Arki electioneering, urban development minister Suresh Bhardwaj and power minister Sukhram Chaudhary in Jubbal and Kotkhai. While the party’s Jal Shakti minister Mahender Singh Thakur and education minister Govind Thakur were given the responsibility to ensure the party’s win in Mandi, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur himself remained at the forefront of the campaign on his home turf.