What made the BJP announce P.K. Dhumal as its chief ministerial face in Himachal Pradesh at the last minute? BJP leaders claim that it’s party strategy as to when the name will be announced. But of course it was much more than that. BJP sources claim that earlier the plan was to impose an RSS pracharak as the Chief Minister face, on the lines of the M.L. Khattar model in Haryana. Ajay Jamwal, an RSS pracharak and organisational state general secretary, had been shortlisted for the post. But perhaps the BJP realised the indispensability of Dhumal in taking on Virbhadra Singh. Towards the fag end of the campaign, it was clear that the Congress CM was not as unpopular as they had calculated. On the other hand, it soon became clear that though J.P. Nadda had a say in ticket distribution, the Central minister was not as popular on the ground as Dhumal. In addition, the Prime Minister and Dhumal have always had a warm working equation. So, the BJP changed strategy at the last minute by announcing Dhumal as the CM face. And on ground reports of election day in Himachal say that this was a wise move.


Is Vijay Rupani the BJP’s Chief Minister face for the Gujarat elections? When asked about this at the party’s Diwali Milan in Delhi, BJP president Amit Shah said that they would be continuing with him. But within the organisation, Rupani is not the popular choice. Then again, in Gujarat at least whomsoever would be the CM face, the election would be fought on the twin appeal of Modi and Amit Shah. And judging by the way Rahul Gandhi is focusing on the state, the Congress too will go without a CM face (also it cannot decide between its various aspirants and conflicting vote banks).


After the Will-He-Won’t-He to Of-Course-He-Will, it seems that Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is once again back to his Hamlet-like dilemma. Suddenly, all talk of a Rahul elevation has been put in the back burner, with Congress leaders debating whether it makes sense to link his presidency to the Gujarat elections. Already, there is a big yawn in political circles when the elevation is mentioned. If Rahul does not take the plunge soon, he could well end up in the “Prince Charles Mode”—more known for his “coronation in waiting” situation than being a king.

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