In BJP's Himachal Defeat, Anurag Thakur Suffers The Biggest Setback

BJP's candidates losing their contests in Anurag Thakur's Lok Sabha constituency is specially concerning for him and the party. Amid factional struggles within the saffron camp, BJP workers blame Thakur for infighting.

In BJP's Himachal Defeat, Anurag Thakur Suffers The Biggest Setback
Anurag Thakur woes increase following BJP's electoral drubbing

In a major setback, the BJP on Thursday was reduced to a minority in Himachal Pradesh. The defeat was even more painful for Union Minister and son of former Himachal CM Prem Kumar Dhumal, Anurag Thakur as all five seats of his Lok Sabha Constituency Hamirpur were won by Congress' candidates and an independent, albeit marginally. The victory margins of their candidates in JP Nadda’s hometown Bilaspur were also too slim to be much of a relief.

Congress candidate Ranjit Rana won from Sujanpur, where Thakur's father and former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal used to contest, with a margin of 399 votes. BJP and Dhumal both insisted that he had chosen to retire and so he did not contest. After this announcement, Thakur was seen shedding a tear publicly. He said he was brought to tears "in praise of his father's hard work".

Other constituencies in the area weren’t any different. Like in Boranj, BJP lost by a margin of just 60 votes to Congress’s Suresh Kumar. Whereas, the Hamirpur assembly segment went to an Independent candidate. Barsar and Nadaun were also cornered by the Congress.

As a face-saving event, all three candidates of BJP in JP Nadda's hometown Bilaspur won their seats, though by narrow margins. BJP supporters took to social media to pin the blame for this defeat on Minister Anurag Thakur following the electoral drubbing in the hill state. Many of these supporters held him responsible for the infighting within the party.

BJP faced a daunting challenge from its rebels who contested in at least 21 of the 68 constituencies. Even though only two of them won, others sliced off significant votes from BJP. Himachal Pradesh BJP saw a three-way factional struggle in this election. Anurag Thakur and JP Nadda were leading a faction each, and the third one was loyal to Chief Minister Jairam Thakur.

The Congress won a comfortable majority of 40 seats in Himachal Pradesh, with the BJP as the principal opposition at 25 seats. AAP could not open its account in this election. The BJP had been banking on the achievements of PM Modi for a smooth transition to a record second term in Himachal Pradesh, even though the state diligently swings between the BJP and the Congress every five years since 1985.

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