Shanta , Dhumal call a truce ?

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Shimla: Two warring factions – of Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and former union minister Shanta Kumar – of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh Sunday decided to put up a united face and jointly conduct public rallies ahead of the assembly polls.

At a two-day closed-door meeting held in Chandigarh between the factions, it was finally decided to go to the voters jointly.

Sources in the party said now both Dhumal and Shanta would campaign together in the run-up to polls. The party would fight on a positive agenda of development, while targeting the Congress party for its “corrupt face”.

“A BJP rally is proposed in Dharamsala July 8, wherein Dhumal and Shanta would share the stage in the presence of BJP president Nitin Gadkari to send the message of unity across the party rank and file,” a senior party leader told IANS.

BJP sources said as part of compromise, the party leadership has decided not to take disciplinary action against BJP leaders Khushi Ram Balnatah, a Shanta loyalist, for his outburst against the chief minister’s leadership.

The meeting between Dhumal and Shanta was held after Gadkari intervened last month to end in-fighting between party factions ahead of the assembly polls.

Himachal Pradesh is likely to go to the polls for its 68 assembly seats in October.