As BJP released a list of 40 star campaigners for the forthcoming Himachal Assembly polls, the name of former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal figured at number 23, while Union Health minister J P Nadda was at number 8, just after Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and BJP ‘s National General Secretary (organisation) Ramlal. These 40 star campaigners will be criss-crossing the state over the next two weeks.
Interestingly, the list was released just a day ahead of Dhumal’s planned show of strength while filing his nomination papers from Sujanpur Assembly constituency. The former CM has appealed to his supporters to reach Sujanpur, from where he will be contesting for the first time after his earlier seat, Hamirpur, was passed on to Narendra Thakur, the sitting MLA from Sujanpur. However, supporters of former CM opted not to react to the development, which is being read as putting Nadda in the forefront.
In the list, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on top, followed by party president Amit Shah, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitely. Nearly a dozen Cabinet ministers, CMs, including Yogi Aditya Nath (UP) , Shivraj Singh Chouhan (MP), Trivendra Singh Rawat (Uttrakhand), and J&K Deputy CM Nirmal Singh are on the list.
The BJP has not declared any CM face for the polls. Party infighting, however, has already become evident as many of rebels have joined the fray to contest against official candidates. Till now, Dhumal has not come out in Hamirpur to join candidates in filing their nomination paper, even as the Congress has been organising big show of strengths.