The real test of new chief minister Jai Ram Thakur begins now as he takes up the coveted job in Himachal Pradesh and opens the new chapter for BJP with lot of hope.
Five-time MLA and former minister Jai Ram Thakur, who has emerged in peculiar circumstances after the defeat of BJP’s CM face Prem Kumar Dhumal, may have to prove his mettle as a ‘performer’ early with expectations of party and the people high from him.
Thakur is the 13th CM of Himachal Pradesh and 3rd of BJP after Shanta Kumar, 83, and Dhumal, 73.
Shanta was the first non-Congress chief minister when he headed the Janata Party government in 1977. He became CM again in 1990, while Dhumal remained CM twice in 1998 and then 2007.
Most of the people above party lines are happy with his elevation as he comes from humble background, is low profile and comes from the organisation.
Thakur has taken over the leadership from two-time former CM Dhumal and he may have to break into the dominating ‘caucus’ in BJP as well as bureaucratic circles.
BJP insiders said Thakur will have the backing of powerful high command and RSS as he gets going to cut down political hurdles within BJP.
But it is going to be a litmus test for him to handle the bureaucracy, which has got badly tagged in Himachal Pradesh with officers showing personal, not administrative, loyalties for political bosses.
So much that over last decade, the officers has reportedly failed the political leadership with their own interests.
More than this, people see a ray of hope in his leadership as lately the state was stuck in the politics of vendetta, with personalised attacks into play at the cost of state interest—with Congress CM, Virbhadra Singh and Dhumal alternating power after five years.
His cabinet has a younger look and with six new faces and he himself being a new face at the top chair, the day to day administrative challenges are also many.
BJP insiders said he may have to have his own loyalists in the power circles for a fair play on his part— All with reference to the 2019 Parliament polls, which may be a testing time for him with Prime Minister Narendra Modi aiming high.
“He is not carrying any baggage with him, being new. That’s an advantage in itself. He needs to start afresh in the government and streamline priorities. We are sure he will be able to do it, having got organisational as well administrative experience,” said some elders in BJP, who were happy with the ‘positive change’.