Jairam Thakur's return to Delhi on Tuesday sparked rumours that he was summoned by the leadership to discuss a change of guard in the state.
At a time when several BJP-ruled states are witnessing change in leadership, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur’s second visit to Delhi in a week has triggered speculation of a similar change of guard in the hill state, which will go to polls next year.
However, the party sources, as quoted by The Indian Express, said that Thakur was recalled to Delhi to discuss the party’s preparations and strategy for the upcoming bypolls in the state.
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Thakur had visited the national capital last week to formally invite President Ram Nath Kovind and other Union Ministers for an event to mark the golden jubilee of the statehood. However, his return to Delhi on Tuesday sparked rumours that he was summoned by the leadership to discuss a change of guard in the state.
“The CM is in the national capital to discuss the bypolls. Preparations have to begin for the Assembly elections and strategies have to be formed to counter the Congress, the anti-incumbency factor and to tackle the resentment over the factionalism in the state unit,” a BJP leader was quoted by The Indian Express as saying.
Meanwhile, sources in the RSS too said there was no danger to Thakur’s position as the chief minister. However, some BJP leaders were quoted as saying that the CM might be ordered to step down.
Last week, Vijay Rupani, in an unexpected move, stepped down as the chief minister of Gujarat and was succeeded by the party’s surprise pick – Bhupendra Patel – a first-time MLA who has never held a ministerial position.
Earlier, in Uttarakhand, the BJP replaced Trivendra Singh Rawat, under pressure from both the faction-ridden state unit and from the RSS, which was said to be unhappy with the performance of the CM who was just four months into office. Rawat was replaced with another Thakur, Pushkar Singh Dhami.
In Karnataka, four-term CM B S Yeddyurappa could not hang on to his post under pressure from Delhi. However, the BJP did not dare antagonise his community, despite speculation about the same, and picked as his replacement a fellow Lingayat, Basavaraj Bommai.