KANGRA: When BJP national president JP Nadda held a roadshow in Nagrota Bagwan of his home state Himachal Pradesh on Friday, veteran party leaders and former chief ministers Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal and Shanta Kumar were conspicuously absent – from the rally as well as hoarding put up for the occasion.
And it was not the first event when the BJP veterans’ absence was missed by many party workers. When Nadda held his first roadshow in Shimla on April 9, Dhumal and Shanta were nowhere to be seen – not even in posters and banners.
Their spots were occupied by the likes of Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, Union minister Anurag Thakur, party’s state president Suresh Kashyap, and Nadda himself.
In his address, Nadda called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a game-changer in Indian politics and recalled the services of martyrs like Major Somnath Sharma, the first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra.
Going all out to praise the Jairam government for accomplishing an ‘excellent’ task during the pandemic, by vaccinating a maximum number of people in minimum time, the party chief said the opposition Congress had been reduced to dust in the recently-held assembly polls in all five states.
Repeated attempts to contact PK Dhumal and Shanta Kumar proved futile and this reporter was informed that Kumar was busy holding meetings. Dhumal refused to comment on the matter.
A tour of the area revealed that the veteran leaders found space in MLA Vishal Nehria’s hoarding only, but Nehria too refused to comment.
Putting on his diplomatic hat after attending a relative’s wedding and paying obeisance at the Chamunda Devi Temple, Nadda later met Shanta Kumar at his residence in Palampur. He was accompanied by his wife and Chief Minister Thakur.
Many in the BJP still fondly remember the contribution of Prof Dhumal and Kumar to the party and the state. Dhumal is known for his innovative initiatives of making Himachal plastic-free. Kumar is famous for his schemes for providing water and food to the poorest in society.