Jai Ram Thakur: The rise and rise of Himachal Pradesh’s new CM-elect in BJP
The rise of 52-year-old BJP leader Jai Ram Thakur, set to be Himachal Pradesh’s next chief minister, has been nothing short of meteoric.
Thakur, born on January 6, 1965, to a poor family in Tandi village of Mandi’s Thunag area, was fourth among five siblings —two sisters and three brothers. His father Jhethu Ram worked as a mason, struggling to make ends meet.
Thakur went to a local school and later completed his Bachelor of Arts (BA) from a college in Mandi, where he was student leader in the early 80s.
He was an active worker of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). He earned a name in student politics and soon was elevated to the post of ABVP state secretary in 1986. After completing college, Thakur joined the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) — youth wing of the BJP — in the 90s.
In 1993, he was to head the BJP as the state president. The big break in political career came in the year 1998, when he entered the state assembly, wining polls from the Chachiot (now Seraj) assembly segment.
Known for his honesty, integrity and being low-profile, Thakur was re-elected in 2003. He was made the state BJP chief in 2006. It was under his leadership, that the party registered an emphatic win in 2007 assembly polls. He also won a third consecutive term from his assembly segment.
He remained on the post till 2009, when he was inducted in council of ministers as a minister for rural development and panchayati raj. Thakur was again elected to the assembly for a fourth term in the 2012 assembly polls.
With his RSS connections and a strong political profile, he was among the favourites for the CM post. Thakur will be the first Himachal Pradesh chief minister from the Mandi district.