Shimla, December 27
Bharatiya Janata Party’s Jai Ram Thakur was sworn in as chief minister of Himachal Pradesh in a ceremony that top BJP leaders such as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah attended on Wednesday.
Thakur—a five-time BJP MLA from Seraj constituency of the hill state who was the BJP’s pick for the position after their chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal lost the recent assembly elections—took oath in Hindi.
Five of eleven lawmakers sworn into the Cabinet are former ministers: seven-time MLA from Dharampur Mahender Singh; Dharamshala MLA Kishan Kapoor; and four-time MLA from Kangra’s Shahpur Sarveen Chaudhary—the only woman in the Cabinet—were part of the BJP government under Dhumal.
Anil Sharma, formerly a minister in the Congress government under ex-chief minister Virbhadra Singh, was also sworn in, as was Ram Lal Markanday, a minister in the BJP-Himachal Vikas Congress combine regime in 1998.
Son of former Congress leader Sukh Ram, Anil Sharma defected to the BJP before the Assembly elections in November.
First-time ministers in Thakur’s Cabinet are Vipin Parmar, an MLA from Kangra’s Sulah; Virender Kanwar from Una’s Kutlehar; Vikram Singh from Jaswan Pragpur; Govind Thakur, an MLA from Manali; and Rajiv Sejal, a lawmaker from Kasauli, and Shimla MLA Suresh Bhardwaj.
Two ministers—Suresh Bhardwaj and Govind Thakur—took oath in Sanskrit, while the others chose Hindi.
Top BJP leaders, such as Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP veteran LK Advani, as well as BJP chief ministers of other states—Maharashtra’s Devendra Fadnavis; Uttar Pradesh’s Adityanath and Haryana’s Manohar Lal Khattar—attended the event.
The BJP have ousted the Congress from power in Himachal by winning 44 out of the 68 seats in the recently held Assembly polls.