SHIMLA: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur reached Delhi on a one-day visit in the midst of the state budget session, sparking speculations of a possible cabinet reshuffle and organisational set-up changes ahead of the assembly elections due in December this year.
His visit to the national capital comes a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) returned to power in four of the five states where elections took place in February and March.
During a media briefing last month, the chief minister had hinted at a cabinet rejig after the declaration of results in the five states — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur, and Punjab. Now that the BJP has comfortably retained four of the five states, discussions on cabinet reshuffle are again gaining momentum in the political corridors of state capital Shimla.
Thakur had said that some minister could be removed from the Cabinet on the account of their poor performance to pave way for some new faces. The party high command would decide the leaders to removed from or added to the Cabinet, he had said.
According to high-ranking sources in the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), CM Thakur will discuss the election to the Rajya Sabha from the vacant seat in the state with top party leadership in Delhi. The election is scheduled to be held on March 31.
Since the BJP enjoys an absolute majority in the Legislative Assembly, it would not face any competition in the Rajya Sabha election. It is being speculated that the party may send one of its former MPs, including Maheshwar Singh, Ajay Jamwal or Mahendra Pandey to the upper house of parliament. Of the three, the claim of Pandey and Jamwal is being considered seriously due to their RSS background.
The chief minister has sought an appointment with Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal. He is expected to urge the minister to continue the concessions given to Himachal Pradesh under the special industrial development scheme even after March 31.