HP polls: Eight ministers in Jai Ram Thakur’s cabinet lost elections

The outgoing BJP government had 12 cabinet ministers, including Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

Shimla: In a major setback to the BJP in Himachal Pradesh, eight ministers lost the assembly elections, results of which were declared on Thursday.

The defeated leaders included Suresh Bhardwaj and Rakesh Pathania whose constituencies were changed from Shimla Urban and Nurpur to Kasumpti and Fatehpur respectively on the eve of the assembly polls and the outsider tag haunted them.

The outgoing BJP government had 12 cabinet ministers, including Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

Anti-incumbency and non-governance weighed high on the minds of the voters and sitting ministers, including Govind Singh Thakur, Ram Lal Markanda, Rajinder Garg, Rajiv Sejal, Sarveen Chaudhary and Virender Kanwar also failed to win. Sitting Minister Mahender Singh vacated his seat, paving the way for political debut of his son Rajat Thakur, who also faced defeat.

The hopes of three out of six chief minister aspirants from the Congress were also dashed. Six-time MLA Asha Kumari lost by a margin of 9,918 votes from Dalhousie. The move of the BJP to induct former chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s aide Harsh Mahajan paid off in Dalhousie as Mahajan, son of former Congress stalwart and former Des Raj Mahajan, changed the equation in favour of BJP candidate D S Thakur due to his hold in the constituency.

Former ministers Kaul Singh and Ram Lal Thakur lost by a narrow margin of 618 and 171 from Darang and Sri Naina Devi, respectively.

Congress candidate from Nahan Ajay Solanki emerged as a dark horse defeating former BJP state president Rajiv Bindal by 1,693 votes. Another winners who took many by surprise were BJP rebel Ashish Sharma from Hamirpur and BJP candidate from Bharmour Janak Raj who defeated former Congress minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri.

Former Congress state president Kuldeep Rathore, who was facing rebellion from two Congress rebels Indu Verma, wife of former MLA Rakesh Verma, and Vijaypal Khachi, son of former Congress stalwart and former cabinet minister paved his way to victory in a multi-corner fight defeating the lone CPI(M) sitting MLA from Theog Rakesh Singha.

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