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Himachal Pradesh Election 2017: BJP banks on 73-year-old warhorse Prem Kumar Dhumal to win polls

Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah on Tuesday announced that senior leader and former chief minister of Himachal Pradesh Prem Kumar Dhumal would be the party's chief ministerial candidate for the upcoming state polls on 9 November.

File image of BJP 's chief minister candidate for Himachal Pradesh PK Dhumal. AFP

File image of BJP 's chief minister candidate for Himachal Pradesh PK Dhumal. AFP

"The BJP is going to fight the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls under the leadership of Prem Kumar Dhumal...Dhumal is currently a former chief minister but after 18 December, he will be the new chief minister of the state," PTI quoted Shah as saying.

The former Himachal Pradesh chief minister will lead the BJP to a "huge majority" in the state, Shah added.

Dhumal has been chosen over Union minister JP Nadda. Earlier media reports hinted at a close competition between the two for the seat.

BJP's announcement of Dhumal comes as a surprise to many because the saffron party has remained mum on the the chief ministerial candidate in all state elections held after Narendra Modi became the prime minister.

Dhumal is 73 years old, just two years away from BJP's disqualifying age limit of 75 years. Referring to his age Dhumal told News18 that he will cross the river when he gets there.

Party sources told The Indian Express that "popularity and the acceptability among the cadre” played” in his favour.

He has worked with several units of the BJP and he remained state secretary of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in 1980-82. He was later the general secretary of state BJP in 1985-93 and state president of the party in 1993–98.

Dhumal has been elected to Lok Sabha in 1989, 1991 and 2007 from Hamirpur Parliamentary Constituency. He has served as the chief minister of Himachal Pradesh from 1998-2003 and again from 2007-2012.

In 2012, Dhumal lost to Virbhadra Singh but won from the Hamirpur seat defeating his nearest Congress rival Narinder Thakur by a margin of over 9,500 votes. Speaking to Zee News after the 2012 state election, he underlined the "need to analyse what went wrong".

Dhumal has also served as a member of several important panels of the Parliament like Consultative Committee, Ministry of Communication (1989-96), Standing Committee on Transport and Tourism (1991-96), Railway Convention Committee (1991-96), The Indian Express reported. He was also a member of National Council for Teachers’ Education (1993-96) and remained an Alternate Chairman of the Estimates Committee of Lok Sabha between 1989-91.

Born on 10 April, 1944, the former chief minister did his MA and LLB from Doaba College in Jalandhar and Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar respectively. He has also been a teacher and agriculturist.

Dhumal is also associated with various social organisations such as Bharat Vikas Parishad, Vivekanand Memorial Society and Himachal Hitkarini Sabha.

Updated Date: Nov 03, 2017 12:52 PM

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