BJP steps up efforts to name CMs for Gujarat, Himachal

Vijay Rupani, Jairam Thakur seen as frontrunners

December 21, 2017 10:04 pm | Updated December 22, 2017 01:01 am IST - New Delhi/Shimla

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. File photo

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. File photo

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday initiated steps to select the Chief Ministers for Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

In Ahmedabad, mild-mannered Vijay Rupani, who resigned as Chief Minister along with his Cabinet paving the way for formation of a new government, seems to be the front-runner and is likely to retain the job.

BJP president Amit Shah had said during the campaign the party was fighting the election under Mr. Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel.

Mr. Patel said a meeting of the MLAs would be convened soon to select the next Chief Minister. Some sources said the central leadership may also think of changing the Chief Minister following the narrow win.

The other names doing the rounds are those of Mr. Nitin Patel and Mansukh Mandavia, a Rayja Sabha member and Central Minister. Mr. Mandavia is from the Patidar community.

Five-time MLA

In Himachal Pradesh where the party achieved a thumping majority, it may pick one of the MLAs as the Chief Minister, with five-time MLA Jairam Thakur being seen as the frontrunner, according to indications.

Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Narendra Singh Tomar, who are the central observers, reached Shimla to hold consultations with the MLAs to arrive at consensus.

The name is likely to be announced on Friday.

Defeat opened up race

The shock defeat of chief ministerial candidate Prem Kumar Dhumal, who was Chief Minister for two full terms, opened up the race, bringing Union Minister JP Nadda into the contention.

Mr. Nadda is a Rajya Sabha member.

The observers said a new era of development would be ushered with the Modi government at the Centre and the BJP government in the State.

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