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Bridging The Gap
BJP wins big in Himachal Pradesh, the nature of state politics will keep it on its toes.
  Tuesday 19 December, 2017
BJP wins big in Himachal Pradesh, the nature of state politics will keep it on its toes.

Himachal Pradesh kept its tryst with voting out incumbents by giving BJP a comfortable victory in the assembly polls. Since 1985 no party has won a successive mandate in the hill state (it may not be a coincidence that it ranks among the top states in India in governance parameters, as it keeps ruling parties on their toes). Congress managed to salvage some pride by touching the 20-seat marker in the legislative assembly of 68 members. And BJP’s victory was tempered by the shock defeat of CM candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal.

Whispers of a power struggle between factions led by Dhumal and Union health minister JP Nadda were stamped out when, in a rare departure from norm, BJP announced Dhumal as its CM face. Outgoing CM Virbhadra Singh also surmounted his share of leadership wrangles with state Congress chief Sukhvinder Singh Sukku. The high command ultimately angled in favour of Virbhadra but left him to marshal the Congress campaign almost singlehandedly. While Virbhadra with his long stint in public life may have been Congress’s best bet, he was also on a weak wicket facing charges of money laundering and disproportionate assets.

Mishandling of the Shimla gang rape-murder case also turned public opinion against Congress, with BJP making women’s safety a campaign issue. After the loss in Himachal, Congress is left with just Punjab in north India. While octogenarian Virbhadra’s stature settled the leadership issue this time, Congress must attempt a generational shift to prepare for future campaigns. BJP has made promises to offer jobs, improve transport facilities and address the needs of women. Given Himachal’s record of keeping leaders on their toes, BJP cannot afford to lose sight of these goals with general election due in 2019.



source:https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-editorials/seesaw-state-bjp-wins-big-in-himachal-pradesh-the-nature-of-state-politics-will-keep-it-on-its-toes/

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