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After Gujarat, rumours now in Himachal about leadership change

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, who flew to Delhi on Tuesday morning ahead of President Ram Nath Kovind's upcoming four-day tour, fuelled rumours about possible leadership changes in the state, which is slated to go to the polls by the end of year 2022 along with Gujarat.

The opposition Congress added strength to these speculations alleging that Thakur had to rush to Delhi, within three days of his return, because he feels shaky about his political future. "I have seen social media reports suggesting that the BJP will effect changes in Himachal Pradesh as it had planned a total of six Chief Ministers. Five had already been replaced and now it's Jai Ram Thakur's turn," said Mukesh Agnihotri, leader of opposition.

The PCC president Kuldeep Rathore went a step ahead alleging that the Chief Minister has failed to deliver on the promises, could not handle Covid-19 crisis and there is also a widespread resentment in the party ranks and MLAs against him. He will be replaced before the next Assembly polls.

Following this, the Chief Minister reacted sharply terming the speculations and social media posts about changes in Himachal Pradesh as baseless and highly mischievous.

"I am in Delhi to attend a meeting on organisational matters, which is a routine party exercise. The meeting was fixed 15 days back. I wonder why the Congress leaders are not looking at their own state of party affairs? No one is asking them for advice," he said.

Thakur particularly ridiculed the remarks of Congress MLA Vikramditya Singh , who is also son of former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh.

"I think he (Vikramaditya) should realise that his family is still in a state of mourning and he is forecasting what the BJP high command is thinking on Himachal Pradesh. Better, he keeps some patience," said the Chief Minister.

Earlier to this, Thakur was in Delhi between September 8 to 12 when he met President of India Ram Nath Kovind to extend him a formal invitation to Himachal Pradesh for addressing a special session of the state Assembly on September 17. The President will be reaching Shimla on September 16 and will return on September 19. The Chief Minister had also met BJP national president J P Nadda, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union health minister and minister for civil aviation.

The party sources said the Chief Minister's meeting in Delhi on Tuesday was actually related to the BJP's preparations for the next Assembly elections in the state for which the RSS-BJP combine had already collected some feedback about making certain corrections in its strategy. The state is also slated to witness four bypolls including Mandi Parliamentary seat and three Assembly constituencies, one of this having fallen vacant after death of former CM Virbhadra Singh.

In Delhi, the CM is also accompanied by party's organising secretary Pawan Rana and state BJP president Suresh Kashap, who is also MP.

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