Jai Ram Thakur Takes Oath As Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Team BJP Attends

Jai Ram Thakur, a five-time legislator was picked as the new chief minister of Himachal on Sunday, a day after Prem Kumar Dhumal -- whom the BJP had named as its prospective Chief Minister 10 days before the elections - pulled out of the race.

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Himachal Pradesh swearing-in ceremony: Jai Ram Thakur took oath along with 10 ministers


Shimla:  As Jai Ram Thakur took oath as Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister along with 10 ministers in Shimla this morning, Team BJP was present in full strength, a repeat of its big show of muscle in Gujarat yesterday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was there, as was BJP chief Amit Shah and several union ministers and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states.

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.
 
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Mr Thakur was picked to be Himachal's 14th chief minister after PK Dhumal lost the election

The oath ceremony was held at the historic Ridge Maidan in Shimla, which turned saffron with BJP flags fluttering all around and big cut-outs of PM Modi, Amit Shah and Jairam Thakur dominating the landscape. Two ministers took oath in Sanskrit.

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.

Mr Thakur's selection is seen as a generational shift in a state where the BJP and Congress had projected much older men for the top post -- the Congress' Virbhadra Singh is 83, while PK Dhumal is 73. He has been the party's state unit chief and a minister in a government headed by Mr Dhumal in the past.

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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