India, March 12 -- Five years ago, he almost hung up his boots and announced that he was quitting electoral politics. But his party, the BJP, was not willing. It was eying a sweep in Himachal Pradesh and was scouting for a strong candidate for the Kangra Lok Sabha seat since the then member of Parliament, Rajan Sushant, had decided to leave the saffron party for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). No one from Kangra could have been a stronger bet than Shanta Kumar, the founding father of the BJP in the state. So the veteran leader had a change of heart and went with the flow when the Narendra Modi wave reached a crest.

Shanta Kumar promised to transform Kangra, comprising the four assembly segments of Chamba district, and defeated Chaudhary Chand...