The BJP retained Gujarat and snatched Himachal Pradesh from the Congress in a 2-0 result as votes were counted for assembly elections in the two states last week. In both states, the party has immediately made clear that it has begun preps for the 2019 national elections, balancing the representation of key voter groups in its new ministerial teams. In both, it had won all seats in the 2014 national election -- 26 in Gujarat, four in Himachal.
Mr Thakur and five other ministers in the team of 11 in Himachal are Rajputs, who make up 56 per cent of Himachal's voters. There are three Brahmins and two OBC ministers. Six have not been ministers before.
Jairam Thakur is the first chief minister from Mandi, the second-largest district in the state. Besides, the chief minister, two ministers are from his home district, four from the largest Kangra district and one each from Shimla, Solan, Kullu, Una and Lahaul and Spiti districts.
Mr Thakur, a 52-year-old five-time legislator, was picked to be the hill state's 14th chief minister after PK Dhumal, projected by the BJP for the top post, lost his election even as the party swept 44 of the state's 68 seats.
As votes were counted last week and it became clear that PK Dhumal was headed for a defeat, Jai Ram Thakur was the first off the block to take a flight to Delhi to meet the party's central leadership.
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