A year ago, factionalism cost the party as it failed to retain the State

With the Lok Sabha election approaching, the Bhartiya Janata Party is working towards ending the factionalism in the organisation that had cost it power a year ago in the State election. Efforts are on to bring back all the rebels within the party fold as soon as possible to stop the division of non Congress votes.

Senior leader in Himachal and former Chief Minister Shanta Kumar has decided to fight the election from the Kangra Lok Sabha seat and is working towards re-merging the Himachal Lokhit Party (HLP) with the BJP. He said the recent move by the HLP to join or come to a seat sharing understanding with the Aam Aadmi Party should be stalled and all rebels in the breakaway faction should be brought back to the BJP.

A group within the BJP had earlier challenged the State leadership and left the party on the issue of corruption days before the Vidhan Sabha election in December 2012. The split cost the BJP dearly and it failed to come to power for the second time. The BJP failing in its “mission repeat” could get 26 seats against Congress’s 36 and lost majority of them by a narrow margin, mainly because of a triangular contest; thanks to the HLP, analysed observers.

“But now, we want to put up a united face for making Narendra Modi the next Prime Minister and bringing the NDA to power at the centre,” said BJP State Chief Satpal Satti.

He said the party is unconditionally ready to bring back and to talk to rebels and the HLP. The party has already taken former MLAs Rakesh Pathania from Nurpur and Deshraj from Gangath and contestant Sanjay Guleria from Jawali, all of whom had fought against the party nominees resulting in its defeat.

The “personal ego” of top party leaders in the State is not coming in the way of unity efforts, as it was the case during the assembly elections, said the party insiders.

The Aam Aadmi Party or any third front is yet to make its presence felt in the State. The CPI-M has already declared its two candidates from Shimla and Mandi seats and has left the other two to CPI or any likeminded parties.