Jai Ram Thakur takes oath as Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister

Glen Norman
December 29, 2017

Five-time legislator Thakur, who rose through the ranks and is known for his humble, clean and low-profile nature, will be sworn-in as Chief Minister at the Ridge here on December 27 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah. He also served as the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj minister during PK Dhumal's government from 2007 to 2012.

Thakur, who had headed the state unit of the party between 2006 and 2009, a period during which there was strong infighting in the BJP, would once again have to contend with more than a few sullen faces within.

Besides the PM and Rajnath Singh, the central ministers likely to attend the ceremony include Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Nitin Gadkari, Thawar Chand Gehlot while chief ministers likely to grace the occasion are Yogi Adityanath, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Dr Raman Singh, Vasundhara Raje, Manohar Lal Khattar, Trivendra Singh Rawat, Pema Khandu, Vijay Rupani, N Biren Singh, Devendra Fadnavis, Raghubar Das and Sarbananda Sonowal.

Jair Ram Thakur's selection is being seen as a generational shift in the hill state where the BJP and the Congress had projected much older men for the top post - the Congress' Virbhadra Singh is 83, while PK Dhumal is 73.

Jai Ram Thakur, a five-time legislator, took oath as Himachal Pradesh chief minister today.

BJP veteran L.K. Advani was also present.

While announcing Jai Ram Thakur's name Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar reportedly said that "We held consultations with the core group and elected MLAs, all of whom were unanimous in their choice of Jai Ram Thakur".

Thakur was born into a poor agricultural family in Mandi district in 1965.

He was referring to Uttar Pradesh where the BJP was the preeminent party for much of 90s faded to political irrelevance for over a decade till it notched up unprecedented victories in 2014 Lok Sabha poll and then in 2017 assembly elections under Modi and Shah.

Dr. Rajeev Bindal is to be made Speaker. He studied in the village school and later did his graduation in Mandi and Masters from Panjab University in Chandigarh. Jairam contested his first Assembly election from Chachiot constituency of Mandi on a BJP ticket in 1993 at the age of 28 but lost.

Thakur was known for his proximity with Nadda.

Thakur emerged as a frontrunner for the post after Dhumal and state party chief Satpal Satti were defeated in the November 9 elections. This ended almost a week of suspense and tussle within the party for the top post since former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal - who was named by the party as its CM's face before the polls - failed to win his own election from Sujanpur.

The BJP wrested power in Himachal Pradesh from the Congress, winning close to a two thirds majority with 44 seats in the 68-member Assembly.

Outgoing Congress Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh and his erstwhile cabinet colleagues were conspicuously absent from the ceremony.

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