BJP’s Jai Ram Thakur on Wednesday took oath as the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a host of other leaders in the state capital Shimla.
Apart from Thakur, Anil Sharma, Sarveen Choudhary, Ram Lal Markanda, Virender Kanwar and Vikram Singh took oath as cabinet ministers of the new Himachal Pradesh government.
Speaking ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, Thakur promised to meet people’s expectations, saying they “have shown faith in us”.
The BJP won 44 seats in the 68-member House to wrest power from the Congress last week.
Thakur also remembered his parents, especially his father who passed away last year.
“I would have been very happy if my father was here. My mother is unwell, but her blessings are with me, and that is a lot,” he told reporters.
The 52-year-old soft-spoken MLA from Seraj in Mandi district will have to strike a balance between regional and casteist equations in the hill state after the shock defeat of Prem Kumar Dhumal, the BJP’s candidate for the chief minister’s post, in the assembly elections.
Thakur’s wife, Sadhana Thakur said it is a win for common man. “There are a lot of expectations with this government that they will try and solve the problems faced by the public.”.
As many as 50,000 people were reportedly present at the event held at the historic ridge ground in Shimla.
Union health minister J P Nadda and Thakur were among the top contenders after Dhumal’s defeat opened a race for the chief minister’s post. But former chief minister Dhumal was still in the reckoning until he opted out on Saturday.
The party is believed to have favoured Thakur as he is an MLA and his appointment as chief minister will not necessitate a bypoll — unlike in the case of Nadda or Dhumal. Moreover, he is a Thakur, a community that makes up about half of Himachal’s population. Nadda is a Brahmin.
Perhaps most importantly, he is considered a clean politician, which is significant as the BJP made the investigations against outgoing chief minister Virbhadra Singh one of its leading poll planks.