Himachal Pradesh Power Minister Anil Sharma resigned from the BJP government on Friday, days after the Congress fielded his son Aashray Sharma as its candidate from the Mandi Lok Sabha constituency. Anil Sharma has been under pressure from the Bharatiya Janata Party after his father, former Union minister Sukh Ram, quit the saffron party and joined the Congress along with Aashray Sharma last month.
“I have resigned from the ministry as during a public meeting in my Assembly segment Mandi yesterday, the CM said ‘my minister (Anil Sharma) is lost somewhere, if someone is aware of his whereabouts, let me know’,” Anil Sharma told PTI in Shimla after sending his resignation to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur’s office.
Anil Sharma said Thakur’s sarcastic comments forced him to resign from the ministry, saying it indicated the chief minister had lost faith in him.
“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,” he said.
Anil Sharma clarified that though he had resigned from the ministry, he remains with the BJP.
When contacted, BJP state president Satpal Singh Satti said the chief minister would decide on Anil Sharma’s resignation. “The CM is in Mandi today and will come to Shimla tomorrow, and will decide accordingly,” Satti told PTI.
A Raj Bhawan official said Governor Acharya Devvrat had not received Anil Sharma’s resignation yet.
The BJP expected Anil Sharma to campaign for its Mandi Lok Sabha candidate, Ram Swaroop Sharma, who is contesting against Aashray Sharma. But, Anil Sharma refused to campaign and suggested that he was willing to quit the ministry over it.
Even after his resignation, Anil Sharma said he would neither campaign for his son nor Ram Swaroop Sharma.
Anil Sharma had earlier said he would resign only if Thakur asked him to.
The MLA said the voters of the Mandi assembly had elected him as a BJP candidate. “So, I will not resign as the MLA and from the party. I will remain as the BJP MLA and will try to get the works of my assembly segment done from the government.”
Showing some messages on his mobile phone to PTI, Anil Sharma claimed: “Bollywood star Salman Khan has asked me to remain as an HP minister. Salman said he will talk to (senior BJP leadership). However, I asked him ‘if you have been in my place, what decision would you have taken, in support of your family or not?”
At this Salman Khan, whose sister Arpita Khan is married to Anil Sharma’s elder son Aayush Sharma, said he would have supported his family, Anil Sharma claimed.
The BJP leader, who was camping in Shimla for the past few days, said he would leave for Mandi on Friday itself.