The Hush Post, Mandi: From Mandi, two men have prominently lobbied in the past to become chief ministers of the state. Karam Singh in the 1960s and Sukh Ram in the late 1990s wanted to become the chief ministers. Both couldn’t. Karam Singh was cut to size by the first chief minister of the hill state, YS Parmar by bringing in a young Sukh Ram. And later, wily Sukh Ram wasn’t tall enough to match CM Virbhadra Singh in the 1990s. He did lobby with 10 Janpath, later floated his own party, but remained unsuccessful.
In the sleepy town of Mandi, adjoining Ardhnareeshwar temple walls, this grand old man of Himachal Pradesh politics, 90-odd-year-old Sukh Ram was having a siesta. He was today seemingly disturbed by a procession. This procession was a celebration of Jai Ram Thakur supporters carrying BJP flags. Jai Ram wasn’t a candidate whose name really came up till the day results started tumbling out. And suddenly there was a rumour that Jai Ram had been called to Delhi. This was the first hint. Union Health Minister JP Nadda too started lobbying. Later, even Prem Kumar Dhumal came in the race.
But in the end, like Parmar cut Karam Singh to size, or Virbhadra, Sukh Ram, and Dhumal cut Shanta to size in 1998, Shanta had the option of getting even. Today he did through Jai Ram Thakur. Jai Ram was barely out of ABVP and had graduated into BJP when Shanta was a CM back in 1992. Today, Shanta came back with as much force, his words prevailed and the man not known much of a lobbyist like Karam Singh, Sukh Ram or even Dhumal, became the chief minister. In fact, both men who wanted to be the chief minister, were proposers and endorsers of Jai Ram’s name — Dhumal was the one to propose, and Nadda seconded it, as Shanta smiled at the situation.
Sources in the Sangh say, his stint as state BJP chief was very non-controversial and he was an accepted figure by all. Meanwhile, in Seraj, his home constituency, a small motley crowd raised Jam Ram ko Jai Shri Ram slogans and soon in entire Mandi district, the BJP cadres came out in large numbers welcoming the BJP decision and welcoming the first chief minister of the state from Mandi.