LAST MINUTE CHOICE

The Sunday Guardian - - Nation -

What made the BJP an­nounce P.K. Dhu­mal as its chief min­is­te­rial face in Hi­machal Pradesh at the last minute? BJP lead­ers claim that it’s party strat­egy as to when the name will be an­nounced. But of course it was much more than that. BJP sources claim that ear­lier the plan was to im­pose an RSS pracharak as the Chief Min­is­ter face, on the lines of the M.L. Khat­tar model in Haryana. Ajay Jamwal, an RSS pracharak and or­gan­i­sa­tional state gen­eral sec­re­tary, had been short­listed for the post. But per­haps the BJP re­alised the in­dis­pens­abil­ity of Dhu­mal in tak­ing on Virb­hadra Singh. To­wards the fag end of the cam­paign, it was clear that the Congress CM was not as un­pop­u­lar as they had cal­cu­lated. On the other hand, it soon be­came clear that though J.P. Nadda had a say in ticket dis­tri­bu­tion, the Cen­tral min­is­ter was not as pop­u­lar on the ground as Dhu­mal. In ad­di­tion, the Prime Min­is­ter and Dhu­mal have al­ways had a warm work­ing equa­tion. So, the BJP changed strat­egy at the last minute by an­nounc­ing Dhu­mal as the CM face. And on ground re­ports of elec­tion day in Hi­machal say that this was a wise move.

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