BJP may announce Himachal CM on Sunday

Shimla, Dec 23 (IANS) The suspense over the next Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh may end on Sunday when the BJP Legislative Party meets and may announce a name.

BJP state President Satpal Satti told reporters here that the BJP legislative party will be meeting here on Sunday.

A senior BJP leader said the name of the new Chief Minister would be announced by party’s central observers comprising Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar and state party in-charge Mangal Pandey.

Several names, including those of Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda and five-time legislator Jairam Thakur have been doing the rounds.

Sitharaman and Tomar, along with Pandey, had met the newly elected legislators and the Members of Parliament to discuss the formation of the government and the Chief Minister.

After spending two days in Shimla, they returned to New Delhi and submitted their feedback to party President Amit Shah.

Five-time legislator Thakur has emerged as a key contestant in the Chief Ministerial race, with the party expected to take a final call at the BJP Legislative Party meet.

Party sources said central observers are expected to convey the name of the next Chief Minister approved by the party’s central leadership to the legislators and get it approved from them unanimously.

Other names doing the rounds are of party legislators Suresh Bhardwaj and Rajeev Bindal.

The name of two-time Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who faced a humiliating defeat in this election, has not been ruled out either.

The BJP won 44 seats in the 68-member assembly.