Though, former Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur has maintained BJP’s grip in his home district (Mandi) by winning nine out of ten Assembly constituencies in the recently concluded Assembly election in Himachal Pradesh, however, this is for the first time in over seven decade’ s long electoral history of the state Mandi district would be losing political power in the state government.
The district has been home to several powerful Congress leaders like Karam Singh Thakur, Sukh Ram, Kaul Singh Thakur, Rangila Ram Rao, Prakash Chaudhary and many others . Gulab Singh Thakur, Mahender Singh Thakur and Anil Sharma remained politically powerful in Congress governments before switching over to BJP and also in BJP governments.
During the Janta Party government elected in 1977 Sunder Nagar MLA Roop Singh Thakur was a powerful Cabinet Minister and in later BJP governments also Mandi enjoyed power in state governments. Mandi district became very powerful during the previous BJP government when Seraj MLA Jai Ram Thakur became Chief Minister for the first time from Mandi district. Mahender Singh Thakur and Anil Sharma were powerful Cabinet Ministers in the previous BJP government.
Mandi remained a powerful political center during Dr YS Pramar governments as Thakur Karam Singh from the district held important Cabinet portfolio, later Mandi MLA Sukh Ram also became a powerful minister in the state governments and a very powerful Union Telecommunication Minister.
Similarly, Congress leaders Kaul Singh Thakur, Rangila Ram Rao remained Cabinet Ministers while Piru Ram Chudhary and Natha Singh Thakur remained minister’s of state .
During 1998 BJP – HVC alliance government formed with the support of Sukh Ram’s HVC, Mandi had very powerful Cabinet Ministers Sukh Ram, who had to resign after his conviction in a corruption case, Mahender Singh Thakur, Mansa Ram and Prakash Chadhuary as ministers.
In the recent election, Kaul Singh was being considered as a contender for the Chief Ministers post being a senior most MLA but he was defeated in Darang constituency after winning eight Assembly elections. Prakash Chaudhary and Sohan Lal Thakur, probable Cabinet Ministers in Congress government after coming to power were defeated in Balh and Sunder Nagar constituencies. The lone Congress MLA Chander Shekhar who defeated Rajat Thakur in Dharampur constituency is a first time MLA.
There is likelihood of Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh ‘Sukhu’ accommodating MLA Chander Shekhar Sharma and senior leaders like Kaul Singh Thakur and Prakash Chaudhary in his government but Mandi district has definitely lots its share in the state government this time.