SHIMLA: After a big show of strength as Gujarat’s new government was sworn in, Team BJP is in Himachal Pradesh this morning, where the party’s Jai Ram Thakur took oath as chief minister this morning.
As they did in Gandhinagar yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP President Amit Shah, several Union ministers and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states are attending the oath ceremony in Shimla. The BJP retained Gujarat and snatched Himachal Pradesh from the Congress in a 2-0 result as votes were counted for assembly elections in the two states last week. Himachal is the 19th state where the BJP is in power.
The oath ceremony for Mr Thakur and his ministers is being held at the historic Ridge Maidan in Shimla, which has turned saffron with BJP flags fluttering all around and big cut outs of PM Modi, Amit Shah and Jai Ram Thakur dominating the landscape.
As votes were counted last week and it became clear that PK Dhumal was headed for a defeat, Jai Ram Thakur was the first off the block to take a flight to Delhi to meet the party’s central leadership.
The names are yet to be announced officially, but, the likely line-up is likely to be: Mahender Singh Rajput, Suresh Bhardwaj, Anil Sharma, Sarveen Chaudhary, Ram Lal Markandey, Vipin Parmar, Virendra Kanwar, Vikram Singh, Govind Thakur and Rajiv Sehjal.
Massive security and other arrangements have been made for the grand function and the Ridge, Annandale helipad and Jubbar-Hatti airport are under the protection of the Special Protection Group or SPG. It will be the fourth time that the oath ceremony is taking place outside the Raj Bhawan and at the Ridge.
Most of those flying in landed at the Jubbar-Hatti airport and then went to the Annandale helipad by chopper, finally driving up to the venue in a motorcade to avoid disruption of normal traffic. A corridor is being kept clear for emergency services like the movement of ambulances.
LCD screens have been set up outside the oath venue for people who are unable to get into the ground.