The Hush Post, Shimla: On Saturday night, Union Health Minister JP Nadda was the front-runner for the Himachal Pradesh chief minister’s post. On Sunday morning, the same sources in the Bharatiya Janta Party said, five-time MLA Jai Ram Thakur could be the next chief minister. Now, Prem Kumar Dhumal is out of the race officially. He ruled himself out, a day before a meeting of BJP MLAs to elect their leader. Now the top contenders are five-term MLA Jairam Thakur and Union Health minister J P Nadda. Soures say, Thakur is the most likely next chief minister of Himachal Pradesh, who also has solid Shanta Kumar backing.
Earlier, there seemed to be a general lack of consensus among the MLAs. Now, the two central observers — Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar are holding fresh consultations with the central leadership. Though, it is believed that it will be more a meeting where they will be told to announce the future CM, which could be Jai Ram Thakur.
Saturday night there were rumours that Nadda seems to be the front runner, but in the morning it changed, however, no reason was attributed for this change. Sources in the BJP said, Jai Ram Thakur’s name topped as the most acceptable candidate Sunday morning. Dhumal, a former chief minister, who was the party’s candidate for the job again, suffered a defeat in the polls, which came as a surprise to many.
Supporters of Dhumal and Thakur had almost come to loggerheads at Peterhoff when the central observers came to the state capital, giving rise to talk that ‘Congressisation’ of BJP had taken place in the state. Now a meeting of BJP MLAs will be convened on Sunday 12:30 pm and they would be addressed by the central observers, the party’s state unit chief, Satpal Singh Satti said in Shimla. BJP, despite winning 44 seats, saw many shockers including defeat of Dhumal, their state president Satti, Gulab Singh Thakur and Vijay Agnihotri.