Prem Kumar Dhumal, eyeing for a third term in Himachal
Prem Kumar Dhumal who is the BJP's Chief Ministerial candidate in the upcoming Himachal Pradesh assembly election in 2017 has already been a two-time chief minister and a well known figure in the hill state. Dhumal comes from a dominant caste of Thakurs who are over 28% of the state's population and it is believed that caste politics is the reason behind this last-minute announcement.
Congress' decision to name 83-year-old current Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh as its campaign committee chief may have been a pressing reason for the BJP to bring back Dhumal to the battlefield.
Both BJP and Congress are also focusing on the Dalit population in the state, which makes up 25 percent of the electorate.
He will be up against Virbhadra Singh of the Congress. Dhumal was the 12th Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh. He has held the post twice in the past from March 1998 to March 2003 and again from 1 January 2008 to 25 December 2012. He is currently the leader of the opposition in the state.
Born on 10 April 1944 in Samirpur village, Dhumal became vice-president of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha in 1982. In 1984, he was selected as the candidate for the Hamirpur parliamentary constituency when the sitting Member of the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly (MLA), and state stalwart Jagdev Chand, refused to stand. However, he lost that election won in 1989 and 1991 and lost the seat to Vikram Singh Katoch in 1996.
Dhumal was president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh from 1993 and became the state's Chief Minister in March 1998 after winning the Bamsan constituency of the Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly with a margin of 18,000 votes.
Dhumal became Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh for a second time after being sworn-in on 30 December 2007 after the BJP won that year's assembly elections. However, the BJP lost power in the 2012 elections.
The assembly poll in the hill state is scheduled on November 9 and results will be declared on December 18.