In a huge blow to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, just a week after being declared as party’s Chief Ministerial face and ahead of the assembly polls, his cabinet minister Anil Sharma, son of former union minister Sukh Ram, is all set to join BJP. A formal announcement to this effect is expected on Sunday at New Delhi in presence of BJP president Amit Shah, a senior BJP leader confirmed to the Indian Express over phone from Delhi.
The BJP, which is in the process of finalising tickets at New Delhi will field Sharma’s son –Ashray Sharma from Mandi Sadar -a seat which Anil Sharma had won thrice. Ashray Sharma is elder brother of Aayush Sharma, who married Bolloywood actor Salman Khan’s sister Arpita in 2014.
Three-time MLA, Anil Sharma has remained minister in the Congress governments twice and also a Rajya Sabha member. He is also expected to resign from the cabinet before taking BJP membership. When contacted over phone Anil Sharma also confirmed the development.” My son has already met Amit Shah as he is already in Delhi. I will also resign the cabinet. We can’t take any more humiliation of the Congress and its leaders,” he told from Mandi. He may also travel to Delhi on Sunday.
The development is seen as severe jolt to the Congress in Mandi from the fact that AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi had addressed party’s first rally to kick-start the Congress campaign on October 7. Anil Sharma was also on the dais since this been his constituency and proposed a vote of thanks also for Rahul Gandhi.
Sources in the BJP said Anil Sharma had met Amit Shah and senior party leaders some days back as he had been in close touch with former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal for his entry to the BJP so that his son contests the next assembly polls. Anil Sharma is currently minister for Rural development and Panchayati Raj in the Virbhadra Singh . In 1998, Sukh Ram had supported BJP to form a BJP-led coalition government under Prem Kumar Dhumal.
There have been reports about another cabinet minister G S Bali chances of quitting the Congress to join the BJP. He was also in close touch with top BJP leaders including Union finance minister Arun Jaitley , minister for National Highways Amit Shah and Steel minister Birender Singh .