In what is being seen as an attempt to reach out to those who had deserted it, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Himachal Pradesh received a shot in the arm on Thursday ahead of the assembly polls this year with the return of some senior leaders who had left recently. The party has embarked on a “ghar wapsi” mission before the year-end elections.
Those who returned to the party fold on Thursday included Chetan Bragta, who had contested as an independent candidate in the Jubbal-Kotkhai by-election following the demise of his father. Bragta had been expelled for “anti-party” activities during the 2017 assembly polls. Also back is Urmil Thakur from Hamirpur. The party has managed to rope in Rakesh Chaudhary, an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader from Kangra. Chaudhary had switched over from Congress to AAP.
While welcoming them, Himachal Pradesh BJP chief Suresh Kashyap said that the re-entry of the senior leaders would help in carrying out a “united campaign” for the polls.
Observers say that the reinduction of the disgruntled leaders had been necessitated following fears that more could desert the party. The BJP, according to sources, was anticipating the possibility of certain leaders vying for poll tickets leaving the party, especially in Kangra district.
With former BJP state president Khimi Ram, and Indu Verma, wife of three-time BJP legislator Rakesh Verma from Theog, joining the Congress recently, the saffron party decided to press the alarm bells and stop more leaders from leaving.
The reinduction followed a crucial core group meeting on Wednesday that was attended by chief minister Jai Ram Thakur, state BJP chief Suresh Kashyap, former CM PK Dhumal, organisational secretary Pawan Rana, Rajya Sabha members Indu Goswami and Sikander Kumar, and senior party functionaries.