DEHRADUN: Who the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) central leadership will choose as the party’s chief ministerial candidate, is still being debated, even as former minister Trivendra Singh Rawat rushed to Delhi on Thursday.
The Rawat camp was upbeat after he flew to Delhi on a chartered plane amid reports that he had been called by the BJP central leadership.
Social media was abuzz with reports that the BJP central leadership has finalised Rawat’s name for the chief minister’s post.
Initially, Rawat, was said to be the BJP central leadership’s favourite for the top job as he had been a Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh pracharak.
A section of state BJP leaders said that the party central leadership called Rawat to Delhi to mollify him “in advance” as it was considering Prakash Pant, another contender for the top job owing to the latter’s clean image.
“Our central leadership has changed its mind owing to a case relating to a ‘seed scam’ allegedly involving him coming up for hearing in the high court soon,” a BJP insider said, referring to the former agriculture minister.
Rawat recently told HT that a probe ordered by the Congress government failed to indict him in the case.
“The case is being raked up to tarnish my image and I will soon file a defamation suit against those behind it (court case)” he said.
BJP insiders said that Pant has the advantage owing to his clean image.
Pant’s name can be announced at its legislature party meeting to be held here on Friday, they said. .
“Whosoever in chosen by the legislature party as the leader of the House, will be announced as chief minister by the two central observers who will be attending the meeting,” state BJP general secretary Naresh Bansal said, referring to the party’s national general secretary Saroj Pandey and Union minister Ratan Singh Tomar.
“They will announce the names with the consent of the party chief Amit Shah”, he said.
Apart from Pant and Rawat, four other names are also doing the rounds for the post of chief minister, including BJP national executive member Satpal Maharaj, state party chief Ajay Bhatt, parliamentarians Bhagat Singh Koshiyari and Ramesh Pokhariyal Nishank.
Party insiders said Union minister of state for textiles Ajay Tamta can also emerge as a dark horse in case his competitors get sidelined.