The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh may be in for a boil with Kangra Police set to file charge sheet against former BJP minister, Ravinder Ravi, a close confidant of former CM, Prem Kumar Dhumal, in a case pertaining to a letter, which carried allegations against Chief Minister, Jai Ram Thakur, Health minister, Vipin Singh Parmar and Industries minister, Bikram Thakur, going viral on social media.
The letter, which was addressed to former Chief Minister, Shanta Kumar, had gone viral on social media few months ago, following which the Kangra Police had registered a case against one person Manoj Masand under section 505 of the IPC for spreading misinformation and section 506 of IPC for criminal intimidation.
The Kangra district Police had later confiscated the mobiles of Manoj and former minister Ravinder Ravi, based on interrogation.
“The forensic report of the data retrieved from the mobiles indicates that Ravi played a role in spreading the letter in social media. We are shortly filing charge sheet against Manoj and Ravi in the court into this case,” Kangra District Police Chief, Vimukt Ranjan told The Statesman.
Ravinder Ravi, five-time MLA and former Irrigation and Public Health minister in Dhumal’s regime in the past, had lost Assembly polls in 2017 from Dehra in Kangra district.
When contacted, Ravinder Ravi said, “It is strange that after three months of inquiry, the Police is targeting me for making the letter viral. They should have atleast found out who has written this letter and the truth in contents.” He said when he saw this letter, it was already ‘viral’. “More so, many other letters have come after that in social media against government.”
Ravi alleged that the Kangra Police have worked under the pressure of state government in this case.
On the other hand, Health Minister, Vipin Singh Parmar, who is perceived to be Shanta loyalist and was the main target of the viral letter, has called for in-depth inquiry into the episode to expose people and deter them from repeating it. “Some people are baffled at the popularity of Jai Ram Thakur government and are continuously conspiring,” Parmar said.
He said the ‘viral letter’ episode was an effort to damage the government and the party in Himachal.
Parmar had earlier refused allegations pertaining to health department purchases, which were mentioned in the letter.
State BJP Chief, Satpal Singh Satti, said the party will take action based on inquiry report. “These episodes kept happening in the party earlier also, but none took action. But this time, the guilty will have to face the music,” Satti said.
It is pertinent to mention that ever since Jai Ram Thakur has taken over as Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh on 27 December, 2017 after sudden turn of events in the wake of defeat of Dhumal (who was declared BJP’s CM candidate in 2017), the lingering Shanta-Dhumal rivalry in BJP is re-shaping as Dhumal-Jai Ram rift. Shanta purposely inched closer to Jai Ram after the latter became CM and he wholeheartedly supports the CM on every issue. The Dhumal camp has however yet not reconciled with the new government or the CM. “Presently, it is sidelined too,” said BJP sources.
Party insiders said the elevation of four-time MP and Union Minister of State for Finance, Anurag Thakur ( who is Dhumal’s son) has given some energy to Dhumal supporters, but results are yet to be seen.