How Dhumal was assassinated politically, by the BJP
- S Pal
How Dhumal was assassinated politically, by the BJP



HIMACHAL - The land awashed in the blood of Prem Kumar Dhumal, stabbed in the back by his own party, the BJP
 
ON MARCH 24, 1998, Prem Kumar Dhumal was beaming, his cheeks more radiant than his trademark maroon Himachali topi, as Narendra Modi stood next to him, his beard still more pepper than silver. The Himachal Pradesh Assembly election results had just been announced, and Dhumal was going to be the Chief Minister, Modi was still to become a CM in his life.

Today, till afternoon, Modi had not called Dhumal. Dhumal used to say Modi became a CM after he oversaw his election, and now hoped to win an election that was the first under Modi as PM.

The BJP did win the election, but the decimation of Dhumal was complete. And it is a story Indian national/nationalist media never reported in all its gory details.
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The BJP troika would have been more polite if they had asked Dhumal to jump from the nearest hilltop.
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The planning for the night of long knives began very early in the campaign when Amit Shah-JP Nadda & possibly Narendra Modi decided not to anoint a CM candidate in the hill state election. 

Then came the next killer move. Amit Shah decided to send Dhumal to fight in Sujanpur, a Congress bastion, where a protégé of Dhumal, Rajinder Rana, had been doing grassroots work for donkey years. On top of that, he is very close to Virbhadra Singh. Everybody and his uncle knew it was a move conceived, designed and executed by JP Nadda.

The BJP troika would have been more polite if they had asked Dhumal to jump from the nearest hilltop.

Thanks to the sheer force of reality staring the face, Amit Shah was able to see the shape of things and rushed to make Dhumal the CM candidate. Nothing else, he was convinced, could prevent a Virbhadra, ostensibly a corruption-accused, on the wrong side of 80 years, and losing his grip on law and order, from making political history by retaining his job.

It had not happened in Himachal so far, and Amit Shah could not afford it to happen this time, particular with Gujarat looking shaky and Rahul Gandhi hopping from temple to temple, janeyu and rudaraksh sneaking from underneath his shirt. (That is the reality, unless you were watching Arnab Goswami on Republic TV, which is akin to living under a rock covered with a lot of saffron moss.)

But a lot of damage had already been done. Plus, fans and friends of Nadda (read dedicated cadre loyal to a wanna-be CM who did not want to fight an election to sit in Shimla's cool environs) were hard at work, and not just in Sujanpur. 

Anurag Thakur's father in law Gulab Singh, who was contesting from Joginder Nagar, was also facing the heat, some of it of the Sujanpur variety. 

If Dhumal had won, he would have been a half term CM, since he would have been 75 by the time of general elections in 2019. That 75 year bar is very strong in the BJP, for how else will the Marg Darshak bench strength increase? Himachal would have seen another contest in 2019, possibly between Anurag Thakur and Nadda.

As Dhumal trailed for hours, coming up to the surface a couple of times when he seemed to have levelled before sinking again in the final round, Anurag Thakur dared to appear before TV cameras. Gone were the Hermes, the flamboyance, even the colour he inherited in his cheeks. In a few hours, he seemed to have grown much older. Nothing makes you as older and wiser as death, real or political. 

As his people ran around, deciding what lines to spout before a waiting media, news came that Gulab Singh has also lost. 

The decimation was complete. 
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"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” I rarely take issues with Shakespeare, but this time, it was not Dhumal's fault. Julius Caesar was a king no doubt, and Dhumal would have loved to lose to Raja Sahib. Today, he was assassinated.
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As I pen this, Jai Ram Thakur was on his way to Delhi, summoned by Amit Shah. He is from Seraj in Mandi. Nadda also has a hat, and everyone knows it is in the ring, the same ring in which Dhumal is lying face down, done and dusted, and Gulab Singh is nursing the deep cut.
 
Anurag's career has been dealt a massive blow.

In this beautiful country for old men, where 73 year old Dhumal can get to have a shot, an 83 year old Virbhadra can go for a job extension, a 90 year old Vidya Stokes can call not contesting a sacrifice, a young Anurag Thakur will have so few to cry for him since it is a day of happiness. After all, his party has won Himachal, and he should be thanking the people of the state for such a landslide verdict.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” I rarely take issues with Shakespeare, but this time, it was not Dhumal's fault. Julius Caesar was a king no doubt, and Dhumal would have loved to lose to Raja Sahib. Today, he was assassinated politically, not defeated. And everyone and his uncle knew it much before it made headlines.
 

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