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Jairam Thakur to be new Himachal Pradesh chief minister: Tracing the rise of BJP's 'gentle face' in the hills

Editor's note: Jairam Thakur will take oath as the sixth chief minister of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday, after the BJP selected his name from a pool of applicants. Below is Thakur's profile, initially published on Saturday, 24 December, after the party announced his candidature.

Jairam Thakur has been selected by the BJP as the next chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.

Former CM Prem Kumar Dhumal Ji proposed Jairam Thakur Ji to be elected as the Legislature party leader. Shanta Kumar Ji & JP Nadda Ji also supported this proposal: Narendra Singh Tomar, Central Observer pic.twitter.com/eqH6E8Gpxu

Thakur will also be the legislature party leader in the state,  BJP central observer Narendra Singh Tomar said.   

The five-time MLA was seen as a frontrunner to land the Himachal Pradesh chief minister's job.

 Jairam Thakur to be new Himachal Pradesh chief minister: Tracing the rise of BJPs gentle face in the hills

File image of Jairam Thakur. PTI

According to a senior BJP leader, one of the reasons why the 52-year-old BJP leader was selected for the post was that the party would not need to go through a by-election.

Thakur won from Seraj constituency in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls by defeating Chet Ram of Congress.

According to a report in The Indian Express,  Thakur was a minister in the earlier BJP government and with the exception of a bypoll he lost to Virbhadra Singh’s wife Pratibha Singh in the Mandi constituency in 2014, his record in the Assembly election has been stellar.

According to a report in Indian ExpressThakur is known for his subdued personality and his non-aggressive style of politics. This disposition is the reason why he has come to be known as the saffron party’s “gentle face”.

Thakur is from a humble background. According to News18, he was born in Mandi district in 1965. His father, who was a farmer, had to make ends meet to feed three sons and two daughters. His father and brothers worked in the fields to provide Thakur with an education. Their efforts paid off as Thakur acquired an MA degree from Panjab University in Chandigarh.

Thakur then went on to be a member of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing affiliated to BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), right after graduation.

His first stint in Assembly polls was when he contested the 1993 election from Seraj for the BJP at the age of 28. Despite being defeated, Thakur contested the next Assembly elections in 1998 from the Mandi constituency and won by a comfortable margin. According to the Financial Express, Thakur then went on to serve as the Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.

Thakur also served as the BJP state president from 2007 to 2009. According to a report in the Financial Expresshis term was considered as "non-controversial and acceptable."

According to News18, Thakur has two daughters and is married to ABVP colleague Sadhana Thakur. Sadhana, a Kannadiga BJP leader, is a doctor who was born and brought up in Jaipur, according to the report.

The BJP ousted the Congress from power in Himachal Pradesh by clinching 44 of the 68 seats in the fray during the Assembly Elections.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 27, 2017 10:31:23 IST

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