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Thakur joins list of new BJP leaders in command of states

Thakur joins list of new BJP leaders in command of states
December 27
11:30 2017

NEW DELHI: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who took oath today, joins a rising band of relatively young BJP leaders picked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah to head their states as they groom a new generation of saffron leaders.

Thakur at 52 joins other second rung party leaders like Devendra Fadnavis (47), Yogi Adityanath (45), Trivendra Singh Rawat (57), Raghubar Das (62), and Manohar Lal Khattar (62), who were elevated as chief ministers of their states after the BJP fought assembly polls without projecting a candidate for the top job.

The choice of these chief ministers besides Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal among others underline Modi’s and Shah’s thrust on grooming a new generation of young saffron leaders while nudging veterans, many in their 80s and older still, to make way.

Few would have considered Thakur as the next Himachal chief minister when the party went to the polls but the shock defeat of its chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal brought him to the centre stage.

The party picked the five-term MLA over Union minister J P Nadda, a veteran organization man, as his political and social background were seen more helpful to its future prospects.

BJP expects, party sources say, younger leaders like Adityanath and Fadnavis will be in a better position to deliver for it in 2019 Lok Sabha elections than many veterans from their states.

By elevating their stature to the next level, the party has given them a pedestal to drive its campaign in their states for many elections ahead, a party leader said.

Though it is far from clear whether the party’s gamble on them will pay off in the next Lok Sabha polls, its leaders insist that it is the best course ahead.

Falling back on same set of old leaders will not lead to any better result, a party leader said.

He was referring to Uttar Pradesh where the BJP was the preeminent party for much of 90s faded to political irrelevance for over a decade till it notched up unprecedented victories in 2014 Lok Sabha poll and then in 2017 assembly elections under Modi and Shah.

The BJP had choices of former chief ministers in states like Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand but it instead opted for a new set of leaders, with an eye on future.-PTI

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