‘Jai Ram Ji Ki’ in Mandi: BJP Loses, But ‘Accidental CM’ Thakur Holds onto Himachal Bastion

During the voting for the 68 seats of the Himachal Legislative Assembly, the opposition had targeted him, calling him an “under-performer” and an “accidental chief minister”, with some even doubting whether he could hold his fort, but at 57 Old Jai Ram Thakur probably silenced his detractors within and outside the party.

Thakur not only won by a huge record margin of 38,000 votes, but also… Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) put up an impressive performance by winning nine out of 10 seats in its home district Mandi.

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Interestingly, just a year ago, Congress The Mandi Lok Sabha seat was wrested from the BJP in the by-election, raising questions over Thakur’s “performance”.

In the last assembly polls in 2017, the BJP had won nine seats in Mandi, while one constituency in Jogindernagar was won by Prakash Rana, an independent.

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Thakur’s performance in his home district was in stark contrast to the saffron party’s performance in other parts of the state.

Contrast this with Kangra district, which has once again maintained its tradition of changing governments every five years. The Congress captured 10 of the 15 seats, leaving only four seats for the BJP, while the rest went to an independent. In 2017, the BJP had won 11 seats in this region.

Party insiders say the Mandi results have left Thakur detractors within the party, who often accused her of being a bad administrator and not being aggressive enough. Thakur was considered the “default pick” during the previous elections after PK Dhumal, considered the top pick for the post, lost his seat from Sujanpur.

Two sitting BJP ministers, including Rakesh Pathania and Sarveen Chowdhary, lost their seats. Rakesh Pathania, who was transferred from Noorpur to Fatehpur, lost to sitting MLA Bhavani Singh Pathania of INC, while Sarveen lost to Kewal Singh Pathania of INC.

Anurag Thakur’s home district

The important thing is that in the 14 assembly constituencies falling under the Hamirpur Lok Sabha constituency occupied by Union Minister Anurag Thakur, the Congress has won most of the seats. The party got nine seats, while the BJP finished second with four seats and one went to an independent. Worse, in Anurag Thakur’s home district of Hamirpur, the BJP failed in even one of the five assembly constituencies. While Congress won four, the remaining fifth seat of Hamirpur (Sadar) was won by independent Ashish Sharma with a huge margin of 12,899.

JP Nadda’s stronghold

Even in Bilaspur, the stronghold of BJP national president JP Nadda, the results have not been particularly impressive. Although the party won three of the four seats, most of it came by small margins. In Nadda’s home constituency Bilaspur (Sadar), a BJP candidate won by just 276 votes.

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In Naina Devi, a constituency adjacent to Bilaspur (Sadar) too, the BJP barely managed to win by a margin of 171 votes. State BJP spokesperson Randhir Sharma defeated senior Congress leader Ram Lal Thakur, a five-time MLA, from the Naina Devi seat.

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