Ending a six-day-long suspense, the BJP on Sunday chose five-time MLA Jairam Thakur as the new chief minister of Himachal Pradesh. The 52-year-old’s name was the only one considered by the BJP Legislature Party meeting, following a brief from BJP president Amit Shah.
Soon after he was elected BJP Legislature Party leader, Governor Acharya Devvrat appointed Thakur as CM and invited him to form the government. The swearing-in ceremony will be held on December 27 at Shimla’s Ridge Maidan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the event, besides Shah.
Thakur, known as a “gentle leader” who has always shunned the limelight, was thrust into the frontrunner slot after the surprise loss of BJP chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal in the assembly elections, which was otherwise swept by the party. Union Health Minister J P Nadda, who belongs to Himachal, was also believed to be in the race, while Dhumal, whose supporters were rooting for him, ruled himself out on Saturday.
The meeting of the BJP Legislature Party was attended by the central observers – Nirmala Sitharaman and Narinder Singh Tomar. Before the meeting, Sitharaman and Tomar held separate discussions with a BJP core group, where Thakur’s name was proposed by Dhumal and supported by Nadda and senior BJP leader Shanta Kumar.
The central observers reportedly carried a brief from Shah on naming Thakur, with the party deciding to go with a name from among elected MLAs, and one who could be groomed as a second-line leader. “There was no other name moved after MLAs were informed about Jairam Thakur’s name having been cleared by the central parliamentary board and BJP president Amit Shah,” Tomar said.
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