Himachal minister Anil Sharma joins BJP

Himachal minister Anil Sharma joins BJP”

In a jolt to Congress party ahead of Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh, former Union minister, Sukh Ram and his son, Anil Sharma, a minister in Virbhadra government in Himachal Pradesh, joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Sharma said he had been given a BJP ticket from Mandi.

He joined the Congress ahead of the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.

Despite being known for scandals around corruption and sleaze, Sukh Ram is said to have an impressive clout in the Mandi district.

The BJP did not announce its list today as about five to six names are yet to be finalised and all 68 candidates would be announced in one go, senior party leaders said. "It doesn't matter if they've gone".

Singh also stressed that the upcoming Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections would not suffer due to their exit.

Is Sukh Ram not a member of the Congress, Sharma asked.

Three-time victor from Mandi and a Rajya Sabha member, Mr Sharma is miffed as his father was allegedly barred from attending Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's rally in Mandi on October 7, which was organised to kick-start his party's campaign for the state polls. The Congress had won 36 seats and the BJP 27 in the last assembly elections. He represented Mandi seat seven times in the state Assembly and he was elected Lok Sabha MP twice from Mandi.

Himachal Chief Minister Singh, however, downplayed Sharma's resignation. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1998. Earlier during the day, Anil Sharma had posted on Facebook that Congress would return to power with the success of "mission repeat" campaign but late in the evening he posted another post to announce his joining the BJP.

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