The BJP has dropped two of its four sitting MPs in Himachal Pradesh, including the veteran Mr. Shanta Kumar, 84, for the Lok Sabha elections. As expected, the strongman from Hamirpur, Mr. Anurag Thakur has been renominated as also the MP from Mandi, Mr. Ramswaroop Sharma.
The State minister and Dharamsala MLA, Mr. Kishan Kapoor, replaces Mr. Shanta Kumar in Kangra, his stronghold for decades. The sitting MLA, Mr. Suresh Kashyap, will contest from Shimla in place of Mr. Virender Kashyap.
Sources say Mr. Kishan Kapoor has the blessings of Mr. Shanta Kumar, who 'chose to opt out'. Speculation was rife that the veteran leader was being replaced, which gained strength after another veteran, Mr. LK Advani, was denied a ticket.
The decisions were taken after internal surveys and several rounds of discussions. Senior leader JP Nadda also released the list of candidates for Goa, MP, Jharkhand, Gujarat and Karnataka.
It was the first time in 2014 that the BJP won all four seats in HP and is under pressure to repeat that performance. Meanwhile senior leader, Ms. Uma Bharti, has been made the BJP vice-president after she expressed her desire to keep out of electoral politics and work for the organisation. The 59-year-old firebrand has been at the forefront of the Ram Mandir movement.