Surprise, surprise! BJP has announced former Himachal Pradesh CM Prem Kumar Dhumal as their CM candidate for the upcoming elections in the poll-bound state.

In a sudden move, BJP President Amit Shah who is currently campaigning in Himachal Pradesh, made an announcement declaring Prem Kumar Dhumal, a two-time former Chief Minister of the state, is the BJP chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming polls in the state. Dhumal has worked with several units of the BJP for decades. He remained state secretary of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in 1980-82; vice-president of BJYM in 1982-85; general secretary of state BJP in 1985-93, and state president of the party in 1993-98. Dhumal beat JP Nadda to emerge as the CM candidate of BJP.

Naming Dhumal was a spontaneous reaction as Congress gave a virtual free hand to Virbhadra Singh has forced BJP to go back to the drawing board to fine-tune its strategy and nominate Prem Kumar Dhumal as its chief ministerial candidate for the Himachal Pradesh polls. The recalibration come in the wake of assessment that the party may now have to bank heavily on the Thakur vote and the former CM to take on the ruling Congress. Electoral politics in the hill state of HimachBut with Congress deciding to wager this election on Virbhadra Singh’s dexterity to manage caste combinations, BJP had to bring back Dhumal to the battlefield. al Pradesh — as in Uttarakhand —is dominated by the upper caste. And within the upper caste, fault line run deep with the numerically and socially dominant Brahmins and Rajputs vying for a larger share in the spoils of power.

Dhumal has been previously elected to Lok Sabha in 1989, 1991 and 2007 (by-election) from Hamirpur Parliamentary Constituency. He has served as Member several important panels of the Parliament like Consultative Committee, Ministry of Communication (1989-96); Standing Committee on Transport & Tourism (1991-96); Railway Convention Committee (1991-96). He was also a member of National Council for Teachers’ Education (1993-96) and remained an Alternate Chairman of the Estimates Committee of Lok Sabha between 1989-91. Dhumal at 73, is fast approaching 75, the year retirement age set by the current dispensation in the BJP.