Vidhan Sabha Speaker Bindal quits, to take charge as new Himachal BJP chief

Updated on Jan 16, 2020 06:19 PM IST
BJP national working president JP Nadda’s confidant Rajiv Bindal becomes the first Speaker in the state’s political history to quit his office to take over the party’s responsibility
Himachal Pradesh outgoing Speaker Rajiv Bindal (right) with chief minister Jai Ram Thakur in Shimla.(HT file photo)
Himachal Pradesh outgoing Speaker Rajiv Bindal (right) with chief minister Jai Ram Thakur in Shimla.(HT file photo)
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By, Shimla

BJP national working president Jagat Prakash Nadda’s confidant Rajiv Bindal will be the new Himachal Pradesh state party chief. Bindal, who was elected Vidhan Sabha Speaker after chief minister Jai Ram Thakur took charge in December 2018, resigned on Thursday.

There were at least five leaders aspiring for the state BJP chief’s post. Senior leader and former chief minister Shanta Kumar had thrown his weight behind Kangra Cooperative Bank chairman Rajeev Bhardwaj, while former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal was more interested in his lieutenant former Naina Devi legislator Randhir Sharma. Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur was lobbying to get his trusted legislator from Sundernagar, Rakesh Jamwal, selected for the post. Till three days ago, the CM’s political adviser, Trilok Jamwal, who is equally close to Nadda was emerging as the dark horse. Later, the name of Dhumal’s officer on special duty Mahender Dharmani cropped up.

But it was on Lohri evening that the equation began to change. The party high command was in search of strong leader with the acumen to steer the party to victory in the next assembly elections.

Bindal’s name was suggested by a former national organising secretary of the party. Bindal then became the unanimous choice of the party’s top brass. The BJP high command in Delhi conveyed to state party leaders about its choice. This makes Bindal the first Speaker in the state’s political history to quit his office to take over the party’s responsibility.

The party high command will send its emissaries, human resource development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and BJP national secretary Devdhar Rao, to oversee the elections. Bindal will file his nomination at the party headquarters, Deepak, in Shimla on January 17, while the official declaration will be made on January 18 at a party function in government-run Hotel Peterhoff in Shimla

FIVE-TIME MLA WITH RSS ROOTS

Born on January 12, 1955, at Solan, Rajeev Bindal was influenced by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideology as his father Bal Mukand was among the founder members of the Solan shakha.

He was an active member of RSS during his younger days and was jailed for four months during Emergency.

After obtaining a graduate degree in ayurvedic medicine and surgery, Bindal went to Bihar has a Sangh Pracharak and worked with tribals and set up a clinic providing free treatment.

He started practice in his home town, Solan, in 1983 and founded the Himgiri Kalyan Ashram, an organisation that provides help to the poor.

Bindal started his political career in 1955 when he was elected Solan municipal council president and served on the post till 2000.

In 2000, he won a byelection to the Solan assembly segment as BJP candidate and was appointed chairman of the state pollution control board.

Bindal was re-elected to the assembly in 2003 and 2007. He was appointed health minister in the Prem Kumar Dhumal-led BJP government and is credited for starting the 108 ambulance service, Swasthya Bima Yojana, Beti Hai Anmol and anaemia-free Himachal scheme.

Bindal shifted base to Nahan in Sirmour district in 2012 after Solan assembly segment was reserved in the delimitation exercise and was re-elected to the assembly.

He was elected to the assembly for a fifth consecutive term in 2017 and was appointed Speaker.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

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