Shanta man takes on Dhumal over Kangra loss blame

Following defeat in the Assembly election, a storm is brewing in the BJP with loyalists of veteran leader Shanta Kumar slamming former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal for questioning the party's loss in Kangra — a stronghold of Kumar.

Former industries minister and Shanta loyalist Krishan Kapoor — who lost the election to Congress' Sudhir Sharma in Dharamsala — while accusing the Dhumal camp of passing the buck on Kumar said BJP did not fair well even in former chief minister's home district of Hamirpur and Kullu.

"Those who take credit for victory should also take responsibility for defeat," Kapoor had said in Dharamsala two days ago.

When contacted, BJP president Satpal Satti, however, said: "Those making wild statements will be asked to explain their outbursts against party leaders." He has convened a meeting of party office-bearers and defeated candidates on January 3 to analyse the party's poor performance.

While all Kumar loyalists, including sitting ministers Krishan Kapoor and Ramesh Dhawala; MLAs Vipin Parmar and Praveen Sharma, have lost the polls, Dhumal loyalists Ravinder Ravi and Shraveen Chaudhary won. Wrong distribution of tickets in Kangra had led the BJP winning just just three seats in the region. Congress, on the other hand, won 10.

According to sources, the Dhumal camp had told the central leadership that with Kangra being biggest district with 15 seats, and Kumar's stand during distribution of tickets had sent a wrong message. While the first list of candidates was released much earlier in the run-up to the polls, the second and third lists were delayed mainly due to the rift between Dhumal and Kumar.

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