Mountain Battles

November 13 2017

There seems to be a new sheen in the BJP after the first phase of the polls in Himachal Pradesh. The Dhumal faction feels confident that he would easily take the CM’s seat. But the bitter rival camp of JP Nadda is also confident that even if this happens, it will be short-lived. For, as soon as Dhumal turns 75, a year and half from now, he, like party patriarch LK Advani, would be bundled out into the party’s ‘Margdarshak Samiti’, a toothless think-tank, and Nadda will warm the CM’s seat. But will the electorate, 37 per cent of who are tribal Thakurs, accept Nadda? The reply came from a top BJP leader: “We have anointed a non-Jat (Khattar) as CM of ‘Jatland’ Haryana. In tribal Jharkhand we have anointed a non-tribal, Raghubar Das, as the CM, and likewise, in Maratha-land Maharashtra, our CM is Devendra Fandnavis, a non-Maratha. In comparison, Himachal it a tiny state.” In fact, Dhumal was a forced choice. The party high command was well aware that the Thakur community had been mighty peeved with it for the unprecedented CBI raid on the wedding day of sitting CM Virbhadra Singh’s second daughter in 2015. And if the Thakur community’s ire merged with already simmering Dalit voters, then there would be no chance for the saffron party in the green hill state. And that is why FinMin Arun Jaitley could convince the party brass to name Dhumal as the CM candidate.

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