Shimla, October 7
The fate of the leaders, mostly from Congress, who have joined the BJP hangs in the balance. BJP workers and district leaders oppose their entry into the party.
Rebellion in Dehra
- There is resentment in the BJP over the joining of two Congress lawmakers Lakhwinder Rana of Nalagarh (Solan) and Pawan Kajal (Kangra)
- Two independent MPs Hoshiyar Singh from Dehra (Kangra) and Prakash Rana from Jogindernagar (Mandi) joined the BJP, leading to a rebellion in local party units, especially in the Dehra bloc
- Dehra BJP unit refused to accept Hoshiyar Singh
- Ravinder Ravi is irritated that Hoshiyar Singh is joining the party
- Ravi, a loyal Dhumal stalwart, had lost to Hoshiyar Singh in the last Assembly elections in Dehra constituency
Whenever Vidhan Sabha elections approach, some leaders switch to other parties, mainly due to ticket denial. But this time the leaders started joining the BJP much earlier, creating resentment and dissent among party workers.
It is possible that other Congress leaders, including sitting MPs, will join the BJP. Besides two Congress MPs, Lakhwinder Rana and Pawan Kajal, the incumbent HPCC Chairman, Harsh Mahajan, has joined the BJP, dealing a severe blow to the opposition party.
The BJP also managed to convince three-time MP and former party chairman Suresh Chandel of Bilaspur to return to its fold. Anil Sharma, son of former Union telecommunications minister Sukh Ram, also decided to stay in the BJP given his family’s rivalry with the family of Congress leader Virbhadra Singh and Pratibha Singh. As expected, Anil’s son, Ashray Sharma, also resigned from Congress to join the BJP.
“The irony is that the BJP is rolling out a red carpet to welcome the Congress leaders when it brandishes the slogan ‘Congress Mukht Bharat’ at every location,” a senior BJP official said. “How can senior leaders expect dedicated party workers to support and work for the Congress leaders they have always opposed,” he wonders.
There is resentment within the BJP over the membership of two Congress MPs Lakhwinder Rana of Nalagarh (Solan) and Pawan Kajal (Kangra), but it is unclear whether they will receive a party ticket for elections to the Assembly.
Similarly, two independent MPs Hoshiyar Singh from Dehra (Kangra) and Prakash Rana from Jogindernagar (Mandi) joined the BJP, leading to a rebellion in local party units, especially in the Dehra bloc. The Dehra BJP unit has refused to accept Hoshiyar Singh and there is skepticism that the BJP will field him from the constituency in the upcoming assembly elections. Five-time BJP lawmaker Ravinder Ravi, who lost to Hoshiyar Singh in the last election, is angered by the latter’s membership in the party. Ravi is a die-hard Dhumal loyalist and is unlikely to let things go which could hurt the BJP’s electoral prospects.
Khimi Ram, a former president and minister, is the only prominent BJP leader to join the Congress. He is keen to contest the election of Banjar Assembly segment in Kullu district.
It will be difficult for the BJP to contain the resentment of the workers and to give a ticket to the four lawmakers who joined it recently.