A fortnight short of his 54th birthday, Jai Ram Thakur could not have dreamt about the windfall coming his way. Even though he was sure to make it to the state Assembly for the fifth time in a row, it was nothing short of divine intervention that has now capitulated him to the Post of chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.
To begin with, there are little chance of Prof Prem Kumar Dhumal losing Assembly elections, especially after he was declared BJP’s chief ministerial candidate. Even after Dhumal had lost his supporters wanted him to be the chief minister and several of the newly elected MLAs volunteered to vacate their seats to enable Dhumal to contest. However the party high command ruled that out and Dhumal withdrew from the race. This left the field for Thakur and Union health minister JP Nadda. Apparently prime minister Modi favoured Nadda to stay in the Union cabinet and play a pivotal role in the ensuing general elections. The role of the party observers was then simply left to pick Thakur. His advent marks end of an era lasting over two decades when Dhumal and Virbhadra Singh swapped the seat of power. For 83 year old Virbhadra too it was most likely the last Assembly elections.