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Himachal: First time after losing 4 bypolls, BJP core team meets

Shimla: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) core committee–the highest body overseeing the organisational matters and government's public outreach, met in Shimla on Wednesday to analyse the reasons behind the party's poor show in the four bypolls held last month.

The BJP lost the crucial Mandi parliamentary seat to Pratibha Singh of the Congress while one of its three candidates fielded in the Assembly polls, also lost security deposits –a humiliation for the world's largest party in the home state of BJP national president J P Nadda.

While party senior Shanta Kumar and Union minister for information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur skipped the session, which lasted for four hours, others present included former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

Initially, the core committee meeting was convened at Chandigarh last week but later put off to get ground level feedback on factors responsible for the BJP's bad performance despite the government being in power for four years.

The bypoll undoubtedly has given a much needed boost to the opposition Congress to declare itself as 'party in waiting' if the trend in Himachal Pradesh about frequent swapping of the power every five years is an indication.

Yet, there seems to be still a hope in the BJP to revive itself in next one year before the elections to the state Assembly are announced. Before this, Shimla Municipal Corporation polls will still be an acid test for the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, if the party decides to fight the elections under him.

The insiders say the party high command is quite upset with the results, which top leadership views as a bad omen because of upcoming assembly polls in the states like UP, Uttrakhand, Goa and Punjab.

"We will win the next Assembly polls and also the Shimla Municipal Corporation posts," boasted Abhinash Rai Khanna, a former BJP MP from Punjab, who is party incharge in Himachal Pradesh.

Among those who attended the core committee meeting included State BJP president Suresh Kashyap and party's organising secretary Pawan Rana, besides general secretary Trilok Jamwal and two former presidents Satpal Satti and Dr Rajeev Bindal.

The Chief Minister has claimed that "sympathy' vote for Pratibha Singh, wife of Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, and some party workers not doing their job seriously in Mandi led to the defeat.

The party facing a low polling percentage to its candidate in the constituencies won by the BJP in 2017 overwhelmingly in Mandi, Kullu, Kinnaur, Lahaul-Spiti and Chamba has already raised concerns.

Will BJP be able to make corrections and fix the problems on the ground, including changes in the organisational structure or cabinet are some of the questions being posed by its own cadres now.

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