BJP leaders in Shimla to take call on next Himachal CM

BJP leaders in Shimla to take call on next Himachal CM

Shimla, Dec 21 (IANS) Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar arrived in the Himachal Pradesh capital on Thursday evening as part of a BJP Parliamentary Board team to take a call on choosing the next Chief Minister of the hill state.

The team also comprises state party in-charge Mangal Pandey.

The central team was received by newly-elected legislators, former Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and state Bharatiya Janata Party chief Satpal Satti, who both faced defeat in the November 9 Assembly elections.

Five-time legislator Jairam Thakur has emerged as a key contestant in the Chief Ministerial race, with the party expected to take a final call after a meeting of the newly-elected party MLAs with the central observers.

Party sources said that central observers are expected to speak to BJP MLAs individually to ascertain their views and then convey the same to the party's central leadership.

Other names doing the rounds are of Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda and party legislators Suresh Bhardwaj and Rajeev Bindal. The name of Dhumal has not been ruled out either.

Party leaders said the name of the Chief Minister is likely to be announced after a meeting of the party's parliamentary board.

Jairam Thakur won from Seraj constituency by defeating Chet Ram of the Congress.

Meanwhile, Governor Acharya Devvrat has dissolved the state legislative assembly and asked the present government headed by Virbhadra Singh to continue in office till the new assembly is constituted.

The BJP wrested power from the Congress, winning close to two third majority with 44 seats in the 68-member Assembly.

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