Himachal Pradesh minister Anil Sharma said on Monday he will resign only if Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur asks him to, asserting that he will neither campaigning for his son Aashray Sharma, who is fighting the Lok Sabha polls as a Congress candidate, nor for the BJP candidate from Mandi.
"Neither I will campaign for my son nor for BJP candidate Ramswaroop Sharma from Mandi," the power minister told PTI a day after Thakur asked him to clarify whether he would quit his post and campaign for his son or he would campaign for the BJP candidate.
Sharma, son of former Union telecom minister Sukh Ram, is a BJP MLA from the Mandi Assembly segment which along with 16 other state legislature seats makes up the Mandi parliamentary constituency. His son Ashray is fighting the Lok Sabha polls on a Congress ticket from the seat.
BJP has fielded its sitting MP Ramswaroop Sharma from the constituency.
"If the chief minister feels an awkward position has been created for the BJP with my stand, he may ask me to resign (from the cabinet). (Remaining in) Government is not my priority. I will resign within no minutes, if the chief minister asks me to," Anil Sharma said.
"If I resign on my own, the BJP leadership will say I have resigned to support my son. So, I will not resign at my own. I will resign only when the chief minister asks me to do so," he added.
However, Sharma said that if the chief minister asks him, he will resign from the state Cabinet but will not quit the party. "I will remain as a BJP MLA."
"I conveyed to the chief minister during Budget session of the Assembly in February that my father Sukh Ram is trying for a Congress ticket for my son Aashray. I pursued (for Aashray) for a BJP ticket but when refused, my father succeeded in getting him a Congress ticket," he said.
He also questioned why BJP won't allocate two tickets to his family. "(Former CM Prem Kumar) Dhumal contested last Assembly elections from Sujanpur and now his son (sitting MP) Anurag Thakur has been fielded from Hamirpur."
Moreover surveys were also in favour of Aashray, he claimed.
"When BJP denied (Aashray) ticket, my father got his grandson to join Congress and he got a Congress ticket. What is my fault in it?" he said.
Mandi being his home district, the chief minister's prestige is at stake to ensure BJP candidate Ram Swaroop's victory. Sukh Ram is also leaving no stone unturned for his grandson's victory.
"I expressed my willingness to campaign for the BJP candidates in the three other Lok Sabha seats in the state, but I have not got any response from (the party) leadership," Sharma said.
The minister is keeping a close watch on the political developments regarding the Mandi seat while camping in Shimla, where he returned on Sunday from his home district.