DEHRADUN: Two BJP central observers --- party national general secretary Saroj Pandey and Union minister Ratan Singh Tomar --- will visit Dehradun by Thursday to hold a meeting with the newly-elected 56 MLAs and assess their choice for the chief minister’s post.
“After consulting the legislators the central observers will leave for Delhi where they will brief party national president Amit Shah about the legislators’ respective preferences for the chief ministerial candidate”, said a senior BJP office bearer.
According to him, Shah would take a final call on who will helm the mountain state.
“The party will then announce the name at a legislature party meeting, which will be convened in Dehradun”, a senior BJP leader said. “This entire process will only be a formality as the legislators will unanimously accept Shah’s choice, which will be seconded by the state parliamentary board in toto.”
Party state chief Ajay Bhatt, however, said when exactly the two central observers would visit the state was not clear. “I am seeking an appointment with the central observers so that they can spare the dates of their visit (to Dehradun) for a meeting with our party’s state legislature party”, he told HT from Delhi on Tuesday.
BJP insiders said that as of now three names are doing the rounds for the top job. They are BJP national executive member Satpal Maharaj and former ministers Trivendra Singh Rawat and Prakash Pant. BJP state chief Bhatt is said to be out of race after he lost the Ranikhet assembly seat.
Parliamentarian B S Koshiyari is also said to be one of the claimants to the post of chief minister as he has got the support of the majority of the legislators. But the former CM now in his mid-70s is long past the age-limit Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fixed for his party men to hold offices.
Party insiders said Shah’s choice would prevail after the central parliamentary board authorised him to nominate the new chief minister. “His (Shah) decision would prevail because the BJP won the assembly election with full majority in the name of the Prime Minister”, a source said. “Because of that (Modi) factor no state leader of our party has a moral right to press for his/ her case for the post of chief minister”, he clarified.
BJP state vice president Jyoti Prasad Gairola said the party high command would nominate the best candidate for the top job. “Our central leadership would choose the best person for that (CM) job so that s/he could implement Modiji’s vision for the state’s development”, he told HT.