Two weeks after his son Aashray Sharma was declared the Congress candidate from the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, Himachal Pradesh Power Minister Anil Sharma resigned from his cabinet post on Friday.
After accepting the resignation, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said, “I happily accept the resignation. He (Anil) should have resigned from the post before his son (Aashray) joined the Congress.”
On March 25 this year, Anil’s father – former Union minister Sukh Ram – and his son Aashray, had joined the Congress. On March 29, Aashray was declared the Congress candidate from Mandi.
Sukh Ram, along with Aashray, and son Anil had defected to BJP ahead of the 2017 Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls. Anil had won the 2017 state Assembly polls from the Mandi seat as a BJP candidate. He was then made the Power Minister in the Jai Ram Thakur cabinet.
For the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, Sukh Ram was in talks with the BJP to get candidature for Aashray from Mandi seat. However, the Saffron party fielded the sitting MP Ramswaroop Sharma from Mandi, as its candidate, after which Sukh Ram and his grandson, who were already in talks with Congress, rejoined the party, leaving Anil in a soup.
Chief Minister Thakur, on Friday, termed the entire saga of switching parties as “politics of opportunism”. “Sukh Ram’s entire family does the politics of opportunism… Earlier Anil Sharma couldn’t survive in the Congress so he joined the BJP. Now, after winning on BJP ticket from Mandi, he’s blinded by the love for his son (Aashray),” Thakur said.
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On whether BJP will keep Anil in the party or not, state BJP president Satpal Singh Satti said, “We will think about that. Nothing has been decided on whether he (Anil) should remain a BJP member or not.”
After Aashray was declared the Congress candidate from Mandi, there was “immense pressure” from BJP on Anil to “clear his stance”, Anil said after resigning. He added that he had already told the party that neither will he campaign for the BJP nor for Aashray.
“The chief minister was in Mandi yesterday (on Thursday) and he said that minister is missing. He was referring to me, and I was in Shimla since I wasn’t going to campaign for BJP or for my son. If the chief minister cannot trust his minister then I thought it was better to resign,” Anil said.
He further said, “The chief minister must forget about Sukh Ram ji and me. He should think about the development of Mandi. Roads need to be constructed, healthcare needs to be catered to. The chief minister must really concentrate on his work and stop thinking and talking about my family.”