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Nadda ‘s Shimla roadshow, three-day tour set to put BJP on top gear for poll in Himachal

BJP president J P Nadda, who hails from Himachal Pradesh, is riding high folowing party's impressive show at the polls in UP, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa (Image courtesy: Twitter/@AmitShah)

The rise of temperature this summer, much earlier than expected, may be a reason for sudden tourist influx to the hills but for ruling BJP, which has just formed its governments in four states, Himachal Pradesh is the next battleground for the polls,besides Gujarat.

What adds to BJP’s political recipe in the state ,where the party had won 44 seats in 68-member assembly in 2017, is the rise of J P Nadda ,who hails from Himachal Pradesh ,to the post of National BJP president .

Thus, Nadda ,is really going to be a man of the moment in the state’s poll preparedness and what the party calls as “ Mission Repeat 2022”. Nadda is riding high folowing the BJP's impressive show at the polls in UP, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa. 

A massive road show in Shimla – an erstwhile summer capital of India during the British era and his address to 15,000 party workers – all special invitees for  “ Rajnaitik Samvaad” ,will mark Nadda’s three-day tour of the state on Saturday –first after BJP winning the assembly polls in the four states under his stewardship.


Shimla getting ready to welcome J P Nadda

“He is son of the soil .He has made Himachal Pradesh proud .He is ,now going to use his energy and organisational skills to see that the BJP returns to power once again breaking all those myths that the state has never returned incumbent government “ says Trilok Jamwal, BJP’s state general secretary .

Jamwal says Nadda’s presence and his leadership are not only going to facilitate  BJP’s victory in this year’s elections but also upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha polls, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to be in pole position to get re-elected third time as Prime Minister .

Nadda, as per schedule ,will land at Annandale Helipad from where he will go straight for the road-show ,and to be joined by top party leaders and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur,who is party’s face for the polls.

Thakur has scoffed off rumours about leadership change in the state ,as Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Munish Sisodia had claimed ,hours after Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s road show at Mandi—the Chief Minister’s home district.

“What is really strange is that AAP party leaders seem to have started taking decisions on behalf of the BJP as to who should be heading the incumbent government, which the people had voted overwhelmingly for in 2017. Kejriwal is welcome to Himachal Pradesh but the people of the state will not tolerate the insult and insinuations directed against self-respecting people of hills” said Chief Minister.
 Sisodia had claimed in Delhi, two days back, that Jai Ram Thakur has not performed ,during the past four years and the BJP is planning to replace him with Union minister for information and Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur. 

But, this is not the first time when such speculations in the social media had tried to create uncertainties in the BJP .This had also happened when BJP lost four byelections including Mandi Parliamentary seat to Congress’s Pratibha Singh, wife of former Chief Minister late Virbhadra Singh .

There have been talks about leadership change in the state.

But, Prime Minister Narendra Modi ,who arrived at Mandi on December 27 ,2021 praised Thakur and his team for not letting the development stop ,even during the Covid time .The implementation of the central schemes ,viz free ration for poor, LGP connections, national health scheme Ayushman  Bharat (and its Himachali version –Himcare) and 100 percent vaccination ,are some of the welfare initiative Modi listed .

But Nadda’s Mission Himachal,which will get rolled –out still will have Jai Ram Thakur as party’s face for the polls ,say insiders though Anurag Thakur also remains a popular young face ,who is certainly being quoted as next line leader since being a four-time MP from Hamirpur,holding an important portfolio in  the Modi government .

Anurag’s father Prem Kumar Dhumal , a two time former Chief Minister ,is also a leader of reckoning in the party .It was after he lost the assembly polls from Sujanpur – where he contested first –time in 2017, the party had chosen Jai Ram Thakur,also backed by the RSS .

Nadda, now  a Rajya Sabha member ,was cabinet minister twice with Dhumal .As  union health minister Nadda too was Chief Ministerial post aspirant in 2017 but union home Minister Amit Shah ,then national BJP president ,had announced Dhumal as party’s chief ministerial candidate –Nadda later succeeded Shah ,after his induction as home minister .

Nadda, besides holding a series of meetings with party’s top leadership in Shimla ,will travel to Bilaspur ,his native place to review progress on the upcoming AIIMS project ,which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to dedicate to the state in June 2022 –ahead of the assembly polls .

The BJP has taken a decision to move all its poll strategists and think tanks to Shimla till the next elections .BJP national vice-president Soudan Singh ,will camp in the state and stay at an official government bungalow to run the show .There are chances that his advice will be crucial to all government decisions, populist measures for the people ,and rolling-out of benefits till the state goes to the poll mode .

The Congress ,since being already torn into factions and having no party face to lead the organisation ,is seen as the biggest advantage to the BJP ,banking on its performance, infrastructure development  and welfare schemes.

While AAP trying to emerge as an alternative to power hoping to gain the space of the congress , has a long way to go though victory in Punjab ,has come as a shot in its arm .

Leader of opposition Mukesh Agnihtori doesn't see AAP as any threat to the Congress . " Kejriwal must read history of Himachal Pradesh and Congress role in formation of the state ,and also leaders like Indira Gandhi giving us a full statehood on January 25,1971.We had legendary leaders like Dr Y S Parmar– an architect of Himachal  and towering leaders in Virbhadra Singh -the longest serving and most popular six-time Chief Minister .He (kejriwal) should not give sermons as to how the state should be run. The People of hills are self respecting and will take the right call at the right time", he says.

Also Read: After Uttarakhand and UP ,BJP planning to storm into Himachal Pradesh for a second term