Workers want name of leader
Hamirpur: With the state assembly elections round the corner, the issue of who will lead the BJP in the coming elections is haunting the people of the state in general and workers in particular. The names of two former chief ministers, Prem Kumar Dhumal and Shanta Kumar are in circulation for this coveted post.
The party has yet not come out openly in this respect and has decided to make the announcement at an appropriate time, according to O.P.Dhankar , the Deputy in charge of party affairs of the state who was on the tour of state recently.
Dhumal is party MP from Hamirpur and had won the recently held bye election to the Lok sabha with a good margin. Under his leadership, the party got lead in fifteen of seventeen assembly segments spread over the districts of Hamirpur, Una, Kangra and Chamba. Dhumal belongs to Hamirpur district and had represented Bamsan assembly constituency in the state assembly before the Lok sabha bye election.
Prof. Dhumal is known for his developmental works carried out during his tenure (1998-2003) in the state and people call him as Prof. Prem Vikas Dhumal. He is also credited with having rapport with the senior party leaders, especially Vajpayee, Advani and RSS chief, K.P.Sudershan.
On other hand, Shanta Kumar is having no legislature post with him at present. However, he is the national Vice President of the party and in charge of party affairs of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. He had lost the last assembly elections in 2003 to BBL Butail of Congress in 2003 and the Lok sabha election from kangra constituency in 2004 to Chander Kumar of the Congress.
Since he is a good orator, he commands much respect among the masses. He is also known as the Pani Wala mukhya mantri (the chief minister who provided potable drinking water to the state during his two tenures).
Supporters of both the leaders want their man to be the next chief minister of the state and for that matter they have been doing hectic lobbying in the state. However, sadly, they don’t stop in leg pulling operations and that has caused much resentment amongst the party cadre.
The party cadre wants that the leadership issue should be decided once for all so that they are able to fight the Congress decisively and to form the government of the party in the state.
The formation of third group in the party under Jai Ram Thakur and Mohinder Pande, the state president and Organizing secretary of the party has also added new dimension to the party activities. This group is opposed to both leaders from the core of their hearts and has been lobbying for third person as the leader of the party in the next Vidhan sabha elections.
These workers have repeatedly told their view point to the party high command but without any positive results.
Insiders in the party say that the senior leaders of the party are siding with Prof. Dhumal and have given him green signal in this respect. The winning of Lok sabha election from Hamirpur seat by Prof. Dhumal has also added to his popularity amongst the cadre in general and the party leaders in particular. It is worth mentioning here that the party had lost most of the seats which its MP’s had to vacate following their indictment in the Cash for query scam issue.
There are reports that the leadership issue of the party in the state will be decided only in consultation with the sangh parivar as the parivar does not want to loose the state of Himachal Pradesh, which is one of the Hindu dominant states of India.
There is general feeling among the masses that if the BJP leadership fails to announce the name of its leader in time, it will face its waterloo in the elections in hands of Congress that is ruling the state at present. And in that event entire responsibility will be of the party high command and over jealous leaders who are trying to grab the power fully knowing that they have no mass base in the state.
BJP needs to fix leadership issue otherwise they might loose the state. Prospects of Congress regime looks bleak but wring candidate by BJP would help 3rd front of Mankotia. While deciding the top post, BJP also need to think abt caste factor and at the same time they have to consider Dhumal’s victory in Loksabha elections. Any wrong message by party command would jeopardise their chances and message of togetherness is whats required at this hour.
BJP have to adopt a formula which encourages these two leaders to move together. Otherwise, they will be defeated by themselves. It is a must if they want to oust congress from power. BSP should not be undermined by the BJP as it has a definite strategy to snatch some anti incumbency votes.
Shanta Kumar is a man of principles, who is even regarded equally by the people having affiliations with congress. His honest outlook is even harmful to his own party men who enter into politics for the specific objectives known to all. His reputation on these lines is evident from his past reactions in the national level politics also. This quality is definitely against the cheap politics that is played in the state once called as the â€œLand of Godâ€. He is a stable personality with full control over ministers and beurocracy. Unlike the present leadership in the state, he is very far from sycophancy and vindictiveness.
Honestly and without any political, regional and ideological bias, I expect him to make Himachal like a small developed country and not just satisfy by standing in top five positions in the country alone. Only he has a potential to reform our beurocracy and the government sector which is showing â€œnuisance and red tapismâ€ to the people who are financing their salary bills. I think this â€œnuisance and red tapismâ€ is the biggest factor for anti incumbency that always emerge dominatingly even after developmental efforts.
As far as the Dhumal is concerned, he was the easily accessible chief minister in state so far. No one ever inquired about his mood before meeting him as is done even by the senior leaders of congress to meet their boss. Overall, a recent victory in 15 out of 17 assembly segments in Hamirpur Lok Sabha elections shows his popularity in the region. His last tenure mainly failed due to some of his colleagues who adopted the popular culture of politics.
Ruling party is equally unclear about their leadership after the recent comments by state party observer R. K. Dhawan. Counter statements by congress spokesman and the CM fueled it further. Each party man has little courage to challenge the leadership. They perhaps have little freedom to express themselves in a party that has more of an autocratic set up rather than the democratic. Fear to get punished is so big that no one dares to open his voice. In such a situation, people of Himachal are wise enough to judge the degree of democracy. This will definitely go against the ruling party, in addition to the big charges of corruption, hushed up smartly with fully controlled government machinery.