NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will drop its legislators with a poor winnability factor and miserable record from its list of candidates for the upcoming assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh, said Avinash Rai Khanna, party’s co-incharge for the state.
Speaking to The New Indian here, Khanna said the saffron party is aiming to retain power in the hilly state, a target he termed as “Mission Repeat”. He said that the party will conduct intense scrutiny of applications for candidature on several factors including legislators’ records in the last five years and their chance to win the election again.
“We are fighting this election to win. We are not fighting to lose,” he said.
Khanna, who hails from Punjab where the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has stormed to power, said hilly states tend to not choose regional parties. “Take Uttarakhand for example. Uttrakhand has no history of repeating the government of the same party, but we did this time. The same thing will happen in Himachal too, ” he said, adding that AAP’s victory in Punjab will have no impact on the BJP’s prospects in Himachal Pradesh.
“Don’t compare Himachal Pradesh with Punjab. That is a border state. There are many kinds of issues in Punjab and political situations in Punjab gave AAP a clear way to form a government,” he said.
On being asked about the rift between supporters of Chief Minister Jairam Thakur and former CM PK Dhumal, Khann said both the leaders are working for the party. BJP made Thakur the chief minister and dropped PK Dhumal after his defeat in the last assembly polls, despite the fact that Dhumal had played a crucial role to bring BJP in power in Himachal Pradesh.
Khanna said that the crushing defeat of the ruling BJP in the recent by-elections was an eye-opener for the party leaders. “We have learnt a lesson from that defeat and have started improvements,” he added.
Elections in Himachal Pradesh are scheduled to be held by the end of this year. BJP has appointed two big leaders from Himachal at national level, Union minister Anurag Thakur and BJP national president JP Nadda. Sources in the party say that both the leaders are taking Himachal very seriously.