Millennium Post

I am proud to carry forward Shanta's political legacy, says Krishan Kapoor

Shimla: Food and supplies minister Krishan Kapoor, who has replaced BJP veteran and former Chief Minister Shanta Kumar as BJP candidate for upcoming Lok Sabha polls, says he finds himself lucky to have been chosen to inherit the political legacy of his mentor Shanta Kumar.

"I never applied for the ticket. I was happy with the role given by the party to be a cabinet minister in Jai Ram Thakur government. Now, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah have decided on my name. I feel highly indebted to them, and also Shanta Kumar," he told the Millennium Post when asked for his reaction.

The BJP on Saturday had cleared all the four Lok Sabha candidates for Himachal Pradesh, retaining two sitting MPs – Anurag Thakur (Hamirpur) and Pandit Ram Swaroop Sharma (Mandi). The two-time MP from Shimla Virender Kashyap has been replaced with a new face Suresh Kashyap, a sitting MLA from Pacchad (Sirmaur) while four-time MP Shanta Kumar, 84, too has been kept out of the contest this time. Shanta's name was very much in the panel, proposed by the state leadership.

Five-time MLA from Dharamshala – Kapoor, who belongs to Gaddi Community – a trade known for earning a livelihood from sheep and Goats flock, says though he never believed in caste divisions for vote-politics yet it's a momentum decision of the BJP to field him. There was a population of around three lakhs Gaddis in the Kangra and Chamba areas, which forms his constituency in Kangra, Kapoor has been receiving greetings from all over the area for being named a candidate.

In fact, Kapoor was one who led an agitation on the issue of Gaddis against former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh when he had passed some remarks against Gaddi community. Then, a defeated MLA Kapoor and his supporters faced the police action at Dharamshala when they tried to stop the motorcade of then CM Virbhadra Singh.

Kapoor soon in the 2017 elections defeated cabinet minister Sudhir Sharma and got re-elected to the assembly. He was inducted as a minister by Jai Ram Thakur.

"I have come from a very humble family and had no political godfather. It's my sheer hard work and party's backing that I have reached to this position. It's a matter of fact that Shanta Kumar had been always my inspiration," he admits.

Before 2017 assembly polls, Kapoor had almost been denied ticket but for Shanta Kumar, that decision was reviewed keeping in view Kapoor's winnability factor and his activism in the party.

Even as Kapoor's name was already making rounds for the Lok Sabha candidature, another Gaddi leader Trilok Kapoor, who is also national vice-president of BJP's Scheduled Tribes Morcha had been lobbying hard.

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