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Race for new Himachal CM: BJP high ups tight-lipped over names

Archana Phull | Shimla |

The BharatiyaJanata Party (BJP) may take some time to decide on Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister, although lobbying is on for the top post.

Sources said the Central Parliamentary Board is likely to finalise the name of the CM in Delhi, before senior ministers Nirmala Seetaraman and Narendra Singh Tomar arrive in Shimla on Thursday to complete the formality of meeting the MLAs.

“The central observers will meet BJP MLAs in Shimla to discuss the issue on 21 December,” said state Vice President, Ganesh Dutt.

BJP insiders said the names of Union minister, JP Nadda from Bilaspur and five time MLA and former minister, Jai Ram Thakur, 52, are in consideration for the top post.

Lately, the name of former BJP CM, Prem Kumar Dhumal, 73, is also being circulated (even after his defeat) for the top post by his loyalists after one of his confidants in Una, Virender Kanwar offered to vacate his seat Kutlehr for re-election of Dhumal.

The BJP high ups in Shimla were, however, tight-lipped over the names, they do not rule out the BJP’s theory of handpicking just anyone, in line with other states.

“The party high command will decide in a day or two,” said Jai Ram Thakur, whose name is in active consideration for the CM’s post.

Thakur, has administrative as well as organisational experience, having remained state BJP chief ten years back in Himachal. He comes from Mandi, the second biggest district after Kangra in Himachal.

Thakur has a strong RSS backing and is low profile.

Nadda, on the other hand, is a heavy weight in the BJP and RSS circles, and has a long organisational and administrative experience.His name was doing the rounds as CM face before polls as well.

Sources said there is still some doubt whether the party would spare him for the state or would like to keep him in centre for bigger role.