Himachal Pradesh: Jairam Thakur’s role under lens after BJP’s bypoll loss

Updated on Nov 04, 2021 06:54 AM IST

Himachal Pradesh bypoll results: In a body blow to the BJP and Thakur in particular, the party could not even retain the Lok Sabha seat in Mandi, which is his home turf.

The bypoll defeat raised questions if the BJP can afford to go to the 2022 assembly polls with Jairam Thakur as the party’s CM face as it revisit its election strategy in Himachal Pradesh. (HT Photo)
The bypoll defeat raised questions if the BJP can afford to go to the 2022 assembly polls with Jairam Thakur as the party’s CM face as it revisit its election strategy in Himachal Pradesh. (HT Photo)

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) defeat in three assembly and one Lok Sabha seat in bypolls in Himachal Pradesh has cast a shadow on the leadership of chief minister Jairam Thakur, people familiar with the matter in the ruling party said.

Though Thakur attributed issues such as inflation for the disappointing outcome for the BJP on Tuesday, leaders in the party indicated that his inability to mitigate public anger over a host of issues, including the government’s Covid -19 response, price rise and a spate of natural disasters that hurt the economy and ecology of the state, contributed to the loss.

“The BJP will introspect the causes for the defeat, will formulate a strategy to overcome its shortcomings and do everything possible to ensure victory in the 2022 assembly elections,” Thakur said. He also hinted at friction within the state unit as one of the reasons behind the loss.

In a body blow to the BJP and Thakur in particular, the party could not even retain the Lok Sabha seat in Mandi ,which is his home turf. Congress member Pratibha Singh, wife of former chief minister, late Virbhadra Singh, won the constituency.

The defeat raised questions if the BJP can afford to go to the 2022 assembly polls with Thakur as the party’s CM face as it revisit its election strategy in the hill state.

A BJP leader in Delhi said that price rise was a pan India concern and there was a perception within the party that Thakur could not gauge public anger and come up with interventions. The margin of losses was another cause of concern for the BJP, which only mustered 28% votes as against the Congress’s 48% .

Thakur will have to iron out differences within the state unit apart from overseeing candidate selection. The decision to not give tickets to tje kin of BJP leaders was also cited as a reason for the loss in Jubbal-Kotkhai assembly constituency.

Though there is no telling if the central leadership will opt for a change of CM, it would not be a surprise given the recent changes in leadership in election bound states such as Uttarakhand and Gujarat. The party replaced Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani with Bhupendra Patel in September and switched Tirath Singh Rawat with Pushkar Singh Dhami in Uttarakhand in July. Both states are slated to go to the polls in 2022.

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    Smriti covers an intersection of politics and governance. Having spent over a decade in journalism, she combines old fashioned leg work with modern story telling tools.

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