Unlike in Gujarat, the BJP comfortably defeated Congress by winning 44 of the 68 seats in Himachal Pradesh. During the election campaignings, it was more or less decided that if BJP comes to power in the hill state, Prem Kumar Dhumal who has been the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh twice will assume the office once again.
However, after the results were announced on Monday, according to which Dhumal lost the Sujanpur Assembly seat. Since he is defeated therefore he is no longer the Chief Ministerial face of the BJP. After the results were announced, began the chase for the seat of the Chief Minister. According to the sources Union, health minister J P Nadda and senior leader Jai Ram Thakur are being seen as the top contenders for the post.
If the party keeps in mind the caste equations in Himachal and opts to appoint a Rajput leader as the CM, then Jai Ram Thakur would be given the preference. Thakur also hols vast experience of having been a five-term as MLA. On the other hand during the campaigning, the name of JP Nadda was also discussed for CM’s post earlier, by the party. Nadda has served in the Himachal Pradesh cabinet.
Jai Ram Thakur is MLA from Seraj and won with a margin of 11,254 votes, while JP Nadda is from Vijaypur in Bilaspur district. Thakur from an RSS background emerged as a strong contender for the post keeping in mind his tenure as the cabinet minister in previous BJP government from 2007 to 2012. He is a senior leader in the hill state and has been consecutively elected for the fifth term in Vidhan Sabha. He has also served as the state party president in Himachal from 2007 to 2009.
Nadda played an active role during the electoral campaign ahead of the assembly elections which were held on 9 Nov.
A team of two members comprising Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar was appointed by the Central Parliamentary Board of the BJP as soon as the results were announced to decide on the Chief Ministerial face in Himachal. Both the ministers will go to Shimla for holding consultations on choosing the new Chief Minister.
However, Prem Kumar Dhumal is still hoping to get the post. After the results were announced, in his statement to the press said that “In politics, one faces defeat while another faces a win. It will be a failure on our part not to be able to give justice to the people (of Sujanpur). It’s time for introspection.” In attempts to still be able to become the Chief Minister, Dhumal is trying everything possible. It is also being said that Virendra Kanwar who won from the Kutlehar seat, is ready to give up his seat for Dhumal.
Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar will soon be deciding on the probable faces for the post and the final decision will most likely be taken by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP party President Amit Shah.