Sukh Ram’s ‘dynasty politics’ leaves son Anil Sharma, a BJP minister, in a fix in Himachal

Switching sides again, the senior politician now eyes a Lok Sabha ticket from Congress for his grandson, even as son Anil Sharma is a minister in the Jai Ram Thakur government

Sukh Ram’s ‘dynasty politics’ leaves son Anil Sharma, a BJP minister, in a fix in Himachal

(Clockwise from above) Sukh Ram, Anil Sharma and Ashray Sharma. (SNS Photo)

Himachal politics is on the boil, with former Union minister Sukh Ram, 92, again switching sides, leaving his son Anil Sharma in a fix this time to get an election ticket for his grandson Ashray Sharma.

Sukh Ram, who had got his son Anil Sharma a cabinet minister post in the previous Congress government in the state, had joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the eleventh hour and got him a ticket from Mandi in the 2017 Assembly polls. While Anil Sharma is now the Power Minister in the BJP government in Himachal, Sukh Ram joined back the Congress with grandson Ashray on Monday.

“My father and my son did not consult me before joining Congress. However, since my son was interested in politics and he had applied for BJP ticket, I had sounded CM Jai Ram Thakur about his willingness to contest. I told the CM for a survey to know his potential. I had even informed the CM that Congress was continuously in touch with Sukh Ram and Ashray. Probably, the CM did not take it seriously. I am in a difficult situation right now as what to do?” Anil Sharma told The Statesman over phone.


Sharma said he had talked to the CM on Monday and that he had said the party would decide about him (Sharma) if Ashray got the Congress ticket. “It’s an awkward situation. Looking at the turn of events, I will resign as minister but may continue to be in the party. The BJP can put me in some other Parliamentary constituency for campaigning,” Sharma said.

He said his father (Sukh Ram) was an “emotional person”. “Recently, he got hurt when he went to meet the CM in Delhi. Nobody intimated him and he kept waiting for three hours at his age. He mentioned it to me that he was never meted out such a treatment even in Virbhadra Singh’s regime,” said Sharma.

READ | Decision on Anil Sharma at the right time: Himachal BJP

Spanning over six decades, Sukh Ram and then his son Anil Sharma have ruled the Mandi Assembly segment for most of the time. Sukh Ram remained Lok Sabha MP as well from Mandi and was most accessible to people while he was telecom minister in the Congress government at the Centre.

He, however, has had an chequered political career as a fallout of a corruption case against him in the mid 90s. Since then he has been switching sides for political settlement.

An archrival of former six-time CM Virbhadra Singh in the Congress, Sukh Ram had formed Himachal Vikas Congress (HVC) before the 1998 Assembly polls, and had ousted the Congress from power by winning five seats in the 68-member House and siding with the BJP for government formation in a tight number game.

In 2003, HVC was reduced to one MLA (Sukh Ram himself), following which he merged it with the Congress.

Incidentally, both BJP and Congress have twisted to his tunes, leaving their sincere leaders and workers in the lurch for short-term electoral gains that they wanted to reap with Sukh Ram’s popularity.

Sukh Ram has described his rejoining the Congress as a “homecoming”. The development may give boost to Congress in Mandi, but will simultaneously fan dissidence in Congress, given the rivalry Sukh Ram has always had with another tall leader of party, Virbhadra Singh.