CHANDIGARH: The ruling BJP might field new faces by replacing three of its sitting Members of Parliament (MPs) in order to retain all four Lok Sabha seats it won in 2014 in the hill state of Himachal Pradesh.
Sources said during the meeting of the BJP’s central election committee, held yesterday late evening in Delhi, names of probable party candidates from the state were discussed.
The saffron party could replace it’s Kangra, Shimla and Mandi MPs as it is being felt that fielding a new face could help them.
The only sitting MP who will again be given the party ticket is Anurag Thakur, who has represented Hamirpur constituency three times in Parliament and son of former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal.
Former Himachal Pradesh chief minister Shanta Kumar on Friday said he will not contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The four-time BJP MP from Kangra, though, didn’t call it quits and indicated that he will continue to work for the party.
The founding father of the BJP in the state had almost hung up his boots made a comeback in 2014 when the party’s then MP Rajan Sushant left the BJP for Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
State Health Minister Vipin Parmar is considered to be Kumar’s protégé and another minister Kishan Kapoor are the contenders from here.
Also, Virender Kashyap (69), Member of Parliament from Shimla Lok Sabha constituency to be replaced by the saffron party.
He is a prominent Dalit face of the BJP in the state and founder of the Samajik Dalit Peedit Uthan Sansthan, an organisation that works for the uplift of the community.
The names of Pachad MLA Suresh Kashyap and HN Kashyap are doing the rounds.
Despite Mandi being the home turf of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, the declining graph of sitting MP Ram Swaroop Sharma has been a cause of worry for the party.
With unfulfilled promises, Sharma will ride piggyback on CM Thakur if he is given the party ticket as he is known for his proximity to CM so Sharma may be retained this time, a senior leader said.
Thakur, a five-time legislator from Seraj assembly segment which falls in this parliamentary constituency has initiated several developmental schemes for the constituency.
Former Union telecom minister Sukh Ram’s grandson Ashray Sharma is also vying for a ticket from here.
Ashray’s father Anil Sharma had switched from the Congress to the BJP ahead of the assembly elections in 2017.
Sukh Ram still wields influence in Mandi parliamentary constituency, particularly among Brahmins.