The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) high command has made a smart move by picking young Shimla MP Suresh Kashyap as party’s Himachal unit chief.
Kashyap’s defence background, non-controversial image and caste card make him a good bet for the party that is eyeing the 2022 assembly elections.
Of the total 68 assembly segments in Himachal, 17 are reserved. Scheduled castes comprise 26.5% of population in Himachal – the second-most dominant community after Rajputs (37.5%). Kashyap is the first Himachal party president from the SC community.
Age in his favour
The BJP has been keen on strengthening the second-line leadership in the hill state. In both Lok Sabha and assembly elections, the saffron party has given preference to young leaders. Kashyap, 49, fits into the party’s plan nicely.
Also, after Nahan legislator Rajeev Bindal had to step down from the state party president’s post following a health scam controversy, the BJP had been on the lookout for a leader with a clean image to hold the party’s reins in the hill state. Bindal had resigned from his post on May 27 within four-and-a-half months of his appointment, saying he was doing so to ensure a proper investigation into the case of alleged corruption by a health department official.
There are nearly two lakh serving and retired defence personnel in Himachal. Kashyap, who served in the Indian Air Force before joining the politics in 2005, will come in handy to strike a chord with defence voters.
Born in Paplahan village of Sirmaur, Kashyap started his political career from the grassroots. He remained a member of block development committee, Pachad, from 2005 to 2010. He joined the BJP in 2006 and became party’s district SC Morcha chief . He was later appointed as state general secretary of BJP SC Morcha in 2009.