BJP deliberates on causes for Himachal byelection debacle

Rejig in govt, organisation discussed | Cabinet reshuffle not ruled out

BJP deliberates on causes for Himachal byelection debacle

BJP president Suresh Kashyap with state in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna, co-incharge Sanjay Tandon, CM Jai Ram Thakur and former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal at the core group meeting in Shimla on Wednesday.

Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 24

The three-day brainstorming conclave of top brass of Himachal BJP to analyse the causes of defeat in recent by-elections started here today with meeting of the core group which deliberated on the reports received from concerned quarters.

Changes and reshuffle in government and organization were discussed in detail and report would be send to the high command for action. Reportedly, about a dozen non-performing chairman and vice chairmen of boards and corporation and vice president and general secretaries of the party are on the firing line. Major shuffling in the Cabinet is not ruled out, insiders in the party said adding that change in organizational set up in Mandi and Fatehpur is on the cards.

Wrong selection of candidate in Jubbal-Kotkhai, internal sabotage in Fatehpur, sympathy factor, overconfidence and failure to involve family of Sukh Ram in Mandi, problems with attitude of party candidate in Arki and inability to strike caste and regional balance are perceived as the reasons reportedly cited for the washout in by-elections.

The party propped up Chetan Bragta, son of former minister Narinder Bragta as candidate from Jubbal-Kotkhai, the seat vacated because of the death of his father and he had already started campaigning. But the party suddenly changed the candidate at the last minute and gave ticket to Neelam Saraik. The party leaders who were seeking support for Bragta were nonplussed. Chetan virtually hijacked the cadre and the official candidate was left high and dry.

In Mandi Lok Sabha by-election, the failure of the BJP to actively involve family of former Minister Sukh Ram in the campaign cost the BJP dear and had about 70,000 ex-servicemen not supported Brig Khushal Singh Thakur, the situation would have been worse.

In Fatehpur, denial of ticket to former Rajya Sabha MP, Kripal Parmar caused fissures in the party, resulting in defeat of party candidate. Parmar, who was vice-president of the state BJP, resigned from the post yesterday, implying that his inputs on the defeat would not be available.

In Arki, the attitude of the candidate was cited as reason for defeat and another major cause was failure of the party to strike a balance between caste and region and effective strategy to counter the sympathy wave.

State BJP in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna, co-incharge Sanjay Tandon, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, state president Suresh Kashyap, former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, organizational secretary Pawan Rana, MLA Rajiv Bindal and Rakesh Jamwal, former state president Satpal Singh Satti attended the meeting.

Discussions were also held on Shimla Muncipal Corporation elections. Meeting of office bearers and state executive would be held on November 25 and 26 respectively.

Commenting on the resignation of some BJP leaders, Khanna said that some resignations are taking round in social media only and the party has not received any resignation and these leaders have resigned only from the post and not from the party.

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