Himachal politics has taken a new turn. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) power minister, Anil Sharma has resigned, days after the Congress fielded his son Aashray Sharma as its candidate from the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency. Sharma has been under pressure from the BJP after his father, former Union minister and chief minister Sukh Ram, quit the saffron party and joined the Congress along with Aashray Sharma last month.
This action was not prompted only by his son seeking greener pastures. At a public meeting, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said in Sharma’s assembly segment in Mandi: “Anil Sharma is lost somewhere and if someone knows about his whereabouts, they should let me know.” “If the CM loses his faith in a minister, there are only two options: Either the CM should expel him from the ministry or the minister himself should resign. So, I thought it better to resign from the ministry,” Anil Sharma said.
The real reason for his resignation is his toothlessness in the ministry. Despite being the power minister, he had no control over the state electricity board. As he had only recently joined the BJP from the Congress, he continued to be critical of the functioning of the BJP government, going so far as to apologise publicly in January for the lack of public health facilities provided by the state government — of which he was a part.
Anil Sharma’s other son Ayush is married to film actor Salman Khan’s sister. In fact, Khan was supposed to come campaigning in the elections. Now the plans are not clear.