Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur on Friday met Bharatiya Janata Party national president Jagat Prakash Nadda in Delhi to discuss the state’s political scenario.
Besides the general state budget, the HP chief minister also discussed the long-due cabinet reshuffle with Nadda.
Speculation of cabinet reshuffle had been rife after the party’s debacle in the byelections held to three assembly segments – Arki, Jubbal and Kotkhai and Fatehpur. The Congress won all three seats, leaving the ruling party red-faced.
Jai Ram Thakur’s own prestige was at stake in Mandi Lok Sabha bypoll, wherein former chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh defeated BJP’s Kargil war veteran Brigadier Khushal Thakur. A wave of sympathy for the late former chief minister Virbhadra Singh was a key reason behind the BJP’s defeat in the October bypoll for the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency.
Infighting and inflation had cost the BJP the four seats in Himachal Pradesh. The defeat was more worrying because Himachal Pradesh is the only BJP-ruled state where the party was not able to win a single seat.
Apart from office-bearers of the party, two ministers each were in charge of three assembly seats and one parliamentary segment.
Education minister Govind Thakur and tribal affairs minister Ram Lal Markanda were unable to secure lead in their respective assembly segments Manali and Lahaul and Spiti for the party candidate.
Chief minister Jai Ram Thakur himself had been dropping hints on the cabinet reshuffle.
He is also said to have discussed their preparations for the prestigious Shimla municipal corporation which is presently held by the BJP. The elections for the municipal corporation are due this year in May.
“I was in Delhi to follow up on several development projects. During my stay, I met as many as five Union ministers and national party chief Jagat Prakash Nadda,” said Jai Ram Thakur, who returned to state capital this afternoon.
“There were pre-budget consultations,” he said.
Jai Ram had met Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, and Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan at New Delhi last evening.
The chief minister requested the education minister to start the work on both campuses of the central university in the state at the earliest. He also urged to release instalment under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) to the state soon. Jai Ram also apprised him of the progress of various other schemes in the education sector.
The Union minister assured the chief minister that CPWD would prepare a master plan and work on both campuses of Central University at Jadrangal and Dehra would be started by the end of March.
Principal resident commissioner Sushil Kumar Singla accompanied the Himachal chief minister.