With assembly elections in Himachal Pradesh fast approaching, the poaching season too has started. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is facing massive anti-incumbency and is pulling all stops to beat that.
While it is already on an announcement spree, the BJP is also approaching those Congress leaders who could make some difference in each of the 68 assembly constituencies.
Himachal Pradesh is a cyclic state, with no incumbent government returning to power since the formation of the hill state in 1971. However, the Congress in 1985 under the leadership of late Virbhadra Singh opted for midterm polls to encash the Indira Gandhi assassination wave and returned to power.
The BJP is keen to break this record and retain power, as it did in Uttarakhand.
But the Congress is better placed in the upcoming elections, and this has unnerved the BJP and chief minister Jairam Thakur.
As a result, the BJP is approaching several Congress leaders to switch sides. One such example is a former state Youth Congress leader who was picked for the job by Rahul Gandhi himself.
It is said he received the invite to join the BJP from two chief ministers through an emissary.
However, the Congress leaders politely turned down the offer, saying he can’t betray his party. Perhaps that indicates which way the wind is blowing this time.