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Suspense over who will become Himachal’s next CM continues

Five-time legislator Jai Ram Thakur has emerged a dark horse in the race to become the next chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, next to Union health minister JP Nadda.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2017 23:35 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Himachal Pradesh assembly election,Himachal Pradesh election,Himachal Pradesh assembly election 2017
BJP leader Jai Ram Thakur (left) meets other party leaders during his visit to Shimla. Thakur has emerged as one of the front runners to the chief minister’s post. (HT file photo)

Two days after its victory in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) still remains indecisive on who will be the chief minister.

A delegation of BJP leaders from the state, comprising Union health minister Jagat Parkash Nadda, Lok Sabha member from Mandi Ramswaroop Sharma, former chief minister Shanta Kumar, Shimla parliamentarian Virender Kashyap and Hamirpur Lok Sabha member Anurag Thakur on Wednesday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah to felicitate the duo on the party’s victory in both Himachal and Gujarat.

A group of party leaders also met Shah in New Delhi on Wednesday to discuss the further course of action.

In charge for state party affairs and Bihar health minister Mangal Pandey also met Shah in New Delhi on Wednesday. Pandey is set to fly down to Shimla to discuss the formation of the government and also gather feedback from legislators on their choice of chief minister.

In Shimla, Pandey will go into a huddle with state party chief Satpal Singh Satti and other senior leaders and deliberate on the selection of the new chief minister.

Five-time legislator from Seraj Jai Ram Thakur has emerged a dark horse in the race, next to Union health minister JP Nadda, after Dhumal lost to protege-turned-rival Rajender Rana from Sujanpur.

The two observers —defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar—appointed by the party’s parliamentary board who were scheduled to visit Shimla, postponed their visit by a day since the Parliament was in session.

Both leaders reportedly met Shah and Modi in Delhi to consult them on the party’s next choice of chief minister. Sitharaman and Tomar are expected to reach Shimla by Thursday.

The task of picking a candidate has been made more difficult by more than 15 newly elected legislators who have offered their seat to Dhumal.

Meanwhile, another section of the party, which is backing Jai Ram Thakur , went into a huddle in Mandi on Wednesday. The party has won 14 assembly seats from the Mandi parliamentary segment.

First Published: Dec 20, 2017 23:35 IST